Returning to his small outback hometown, an Aboriginal police detective undertakes an investigation into the brutal murder of a teenage Aboriginal girl that brings the town’s long-simmering tensions to the surface. Aaron Pedersen, Jack Thompson and Hugo Weaving star in this new film from internationally lauded Australian director Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah).

Special Presentations

Mystery Road

Ivan Sen

Mystery Road, the latest work from Ivan Sen, showcases the Australian filmmaker's multiple talents. As its writer, director, editor, director of photography, and composer, he is responsible for the singular vision of the film, one of the most compelling and purely cinematic offerings of the year.

Set in the arid outback of Queensland, Mystery Road centres on Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), an Aboriginal police detective recently returned to his small hometown after a stint in the big city. When the body of a teenage Aboriginal girl is discovered, Jay is tasked with solving her murder. Both the violent crime and Jay's arrival unsettle the community, and Sen is unsentimental about revealing the harsh contrasts — white versus Aboriginal, past versus present, urban versus rural, poverty versus opportunity — that simmer within the town, isolated by mile after dusty mile of flat, red earth.

As Jay Swan, Pedersen exhibits a brooding charisma reminiscent of Robert Mitchum. He is ably supported by a cast of Australia's best male actors: Jack Thompson (The Man From Snowy River, Mao's Last Dancer, which premiered at the Festival in 2009), Hugo Weaving (the Matrix and Lord of the Rings trilogies), and Ryan Kwanten (Griff the Invisible, Festival 2010), provide superb "bad boy" counterpoints to Pedersen's cowboy cop.

Sen is already an accomplished and internationally lauded filmmaker (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah) and Mystery Road advances the scope of his work, delivering a classically structured, slow burning story about a lone hero fighting evil in his town — right up to the thrilling climax, an Australian version of Main Street at high noon.

JANE SCHOETTLE

Screenings

Sat Sep 07

TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Regular
7:15pm
Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 11

Industry
1:45pm
Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 2

Regular
3:45pm
Sun Sep 15

Scotiabank 1

Regular
6:15pm