Home Entertainment Limbo review – hardbitten outback noir with a compassionate heart

Limbo review – hardbitten outback noir with a compassionate heart

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Limbo review – hardbitten outback noir with a compassionate heart

Indigenous Australian film-maker Ivan Sen brings to Berlin a terrific outback noir, a cold-case crime procedural that he has written and directed – and in addition shot in a stark monochrome, which makes the huge skies and cratered earth of South Australia’s deserted opal mines appear to be one other planet.

The setting is the city of Umoona, the place a grizzled cop arrives, broodingly listening to a Christian talkshow on the automotive radio, and checking into a spot unsubtly known as the Limbo Motel, the place his room is a weird stone grotto, apparently repurposed from one of many disused mines. That is detective Travis Hurley, performed in careworn, weatherbeaten type by Simon Baker – very a lot resembling Bryan Cranston in Breaking Unhealthy. Hurley is a former drug squad officer who has develop into hooked on heroin; his superiors have fairly clearly given him this hopeless job in the course of nowhere as a way of getting him out of the way in which. His ostensible activity is to reopen a 20-year-old case: the unsolved disappearance of an Indigenous girl. This was casually and incompetently investigated by white officers on the time, who had been involved solely in getting a confession from (any) Indigenous man.

No person in authority, then or now, has the smallest curiosity in fixing this case, however Hurley takes it significantly. He talks to the lacking girl’s brother Charlie and sister Emma (superb performances from Rob Collins and Natasha Wanganeen), and tracks down Joseph (Nicholas Hope), a “whitefella” who had some involvement in doubtful events to which Indigenous women and men in these days had been invited. Sen and Baker present how one thing in Hurley’s personal horrible loneliness, emotionally ruined state and fractured household background resonates with the folks he talks to. He begins making progress, discovering an emotional connection together with his witnesses and even the primary glimmerings of redemption for himself. However therapeutic his wounds might imply reopening theirs.

Sen coolly lays out for us the truth of the racism and informal discrimination to which the Indigenous inhabitants are subjected to – particularly, however not solely, when it’s police enterprise. Their stoicism is revealed when the folks Hurley approaches maybe determine that, since nothing goes to get completed, there’s nothing apparent to lose and maybe some therapeutic closure to be gained in speaking to this wrecked-looking cop. And Sen additionally exhibits us a mysterious Indigenous portray: pictures from the fathomless millennia of Dreamtime. It’s a powerful, muscular movie with the grit of crime, however a heartbeat of compassion.

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