Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. Australia/United Kingdom, 2005. UK Film Council, Surefire Film Productions, Autonomous, Jackie O Productions, Pictures in Paradise, Pacific Film and Television Commission, Film Consortium, National Lottery through UK Film Council. Screenplay by Nick Cave. Cinematography by Benoit Delhomme. Produced by Chris Brown, Chiara Menage, Jackie O’Sullivan, Cat Villiers. Music by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis. Production Design by Chris Kennedy. Costume Design by Margot Wilson. Film Editing by Jon Gregory. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
After the rape and murder of a pregnant woman in an 1880s Australian outback town, two of the three brothers accused of the crime are captured by the police captain (Ray Winstone) assigned to the case, while the third (Danny Huston) escapes into the desert. Winstone tells Guy Pearce, the elder of the two men in custody, that he will let him and his little brother go free if Pearce will journey to Huston’s hiding place and kill him. After setting out on his journey, the townspeople left behind look to Pearce’s little brother for vengeance in an effort to relieve their frustration with the almost impossible lives they lead in the wild Australian landscape. This highly original western will upset many viewers with its unpleasant violence, but others will be thrilled with the dramatic cinematography and exceptional pacing. The characters aren’t deep enough to really draw you into the story, but the performances, particularly by Winstone and Emily Watson as his conflicted wife, are all superb.