Director: Ivan Sen
By Sarah Stopforth
Ivan Sen’s outback-western-noir-hybrid and sequel to Mystery Road (2013), comes Goldstone. Indigenous detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) is back, but he doesn’t look too good.
The opening scene follows Swan getting pulled over and subsequently arrested for drink driving, by ‘county sheriff’ Josh (Alex Russell), who takes in Swan because of his race, failing to realise that he too is with the law enforcement. Swan’s hair is long, his beard is full and his clothes are unclean; he does not look like the sharp, shirt-tucked-in cowboy he was three years ago. Swan enters a new town, Goldstone, in search of the truth about a young Chinese girl who he is assigned to find.
Swan encounters some red tape and suspicious individuals who want him out of town, namely the Mayor of Goldstone and avid apple pie baker Maureen (Jacki Weaver) and, her partner in crime, mining executive (David Wenham). But if you’ve seen Mystery Road, you’ll know that Detective Swan is particularly good at his job; when he can’t get information out of people, he knows where to find the missing pieces of the puzzle, no matter how well they are hidden. Luckily, Constable Josh soon realises who has his back, and lends Swan a hand, featuring an epic shoot-out.
During the opening credits, there is a moving montage of black and white photographs of Indigenous Australians, Chinese and European immigrants from many moons ago, beautifully drawing in the viewer to a story of moral and cultural injustice; making the message of this film crystal clear.
One of the best characters in Goldstone is Jimmy, Indigenous icon David Gulpilil (Crocodile Dundee, Rabbit Proof Fence), a wise local elder who befriends Swan and ‘shows him way’. Jimmy takes Swan on a spiritual canoe ride through a stunning gorge, shows him the ancient Indigenous rock paintings and Swan subsequently finds the spiritual part of himself. The symbol of Jimmy’s character, in the many forms he appears, is very significant to the meaning and emotion behind Sen’s film; Indigenous lives matter.
Sen, once again, writes, directs, composes and edits Goldstone making it one incredibly cohesive and important piece of art, as well as continuing to establish the genre-hybrid that is the Australian Western-Noir-Thriller. Sen’s films are not only beautiful to watch, but they make you think and feel something as you watch a part of Australian culture we rarely see.
You can catch Goldstone at selected Luna Palace Cinemas from July 7th!
View more details here.