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Film Reviews Strangerland: An uneasy film about an emotionally remote place

Strangerland features a vacant-eyed mother (Nicole Kidman), a brooding pharmacist father (Joseph Fiennes), a sexually active 15-year-old daughter and a creepy kid brother.

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Strangerland
Written by
Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons
Directed by
Kim Farrant
Starring
Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving
Genre
Drama
Country
USA
Language
English

"Kids go missing out here," says an aboriginal woman, in a strange film about a strange place. "It's the land." The land, sure – more than one well-regarded film has involved people lost in the Australian wild, including (all from the 1970s) Wake in Fright, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Walkabout. A new entry into the rugged, weird genre is Strangerland, an uneasy first feature from Kim Farrant. Here a disjointed, unlikable family moves to a desert town that is as emotionally remote as it is geographically. The townspeople are unapproachable, and no sitcom would ever feature a vacant-eyed mother (Nicole Kidman), a brooding pharmacist father (Joseph Fiennes), a sexually active 15-year-old daughter and a creepy kid brother. The two children go missing, but the film is less about them and more about the passionless parents, who hold back clues and act with impulsive erraticism. Eerie and unpredictable, Strangerland holds attention, even if traditional suspense tricks are avoided like they were dingos at the daycare.

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