Goldstone Mines Australia’s Murky Past

Goldstone, Ivan Sen’s sequel to 2013’s Mystery Road, begins with sepia-toned photographs of Australia’s past. White families gathered around dining room tables. Gold miners dusted with grime. Indigenous children bedecked in white frocks. A procession of Chinese immigrants walking through the centre of a mining town. These photographs simultaneously hint at Goldstone’s allegorical intent as…

Jeremy Renner in Kill the Messenger (2014)

Kill the Messenger (2014)

“You don’t know what you’re getting into.” Small-time journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) keeps hearing variations on that statement, delivered by Washington insider Fred Weil (Michael Sheen). ‘What he’s getting into’ is a national scandal involving the CIA, Nicaragua and thousands of kilos of cocaine smuggled into the United States daily. Webb is a 1990s…

Sorcerer

Sorcerer (1977)

Within the rusted, mud-splattered framework of William Friedkin’s Sorcerer is a distillation of 1970s American cinema. It has the bruised masculinity of Taxi Driver, the abiding pessimism of Chinatown and the nightmarish madness that would send Coppola deep into the jungles of the Philippines for Apocalypse Now. It’s fitting that its release would be eclipsed…

Aaron Pedersen in Mystery Road (2013)

Mystery Road (2013)

Mystery Road does, as the title suggests, concern a mystery of sorts. An indigenous teenage girl is found murdered on the outskirts of an outback Aussie town, and Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen, fantastic) investigates. His inquiries turn over dusty rocks, disturbing the dark creatures from their hiding places. In spirit of noirs like Chinatown…

Randy Quaid, Jack Nicholson and Otis Young inThe Last Detail (1973)

The Last Detail (1973)

The Last Detail finds a couple navy lifers – Buddusky (Jack Nicholson), better known as “Badass,” and Mulhall (Otis Young), better known as “Mule” – accompanying a young man called Meadows (Randy Quaid) to a prison in Portsmouth. Meadows is eighteen years old facing eight years in the brig. The length of his punishment is…

Ewan McGregor in The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer is a tense, understated thriller, eschewing violence for political intrigue. Director Roman Polanski channels his classic noir Chinatown, with Ewan McGregor’s ghost writer standing in for Jack Nicholson’s private detective, with the corruption here inspired by Tony Blair rather than California’s seedy underbelly. There’s also an inversion of Polanski’s “predicament” in Pierce…