Goldstone (2016)

Well I disagree with the Aussie critics on this one. Goldstone, which tonight had its European premiere at the LFF, isn’t the masterpiece that some critics proclaim but it does have its moments.

Maybe this is because director Ivan Sen is trying to do it all – cinematography (beautiful), editing (competent), music (hackneyed), script (slightly under-developed) – too much for one person? It could have used a bit of tightening-up, in particular the script, plotting and characters. But it’s watchable.

Its a tale of two cops investigating corruption in a mining town, where they discover the mine is trafficking prostitutes from China. It’s about how easy it is to turn a blind eye and about the exploitation of the aboriginal people, culture and environment. It’s clearly meant to be a Commentary on ‘Australia’.

The film is enjoyable though: the cinematography is stunningly beautiful, it luxuriates in the colour of the expansive outback landscape and the neon bars and dives. Unfortunately the plot is too predicable and Sen felt the need to underline each of the film’s messages with passages of laboured, unnatural reflective dialogue, often more than once just in case you’d missed the obvious themes. The supporting cast are almost all stereotypes. One notable but fleeting exception is a travelling prostitute doing the rounds of the outback settlements; her compassion, toughness and tragic backstory is hinted at just enough to give her real depth. And then she’s gone as if she’d just wandered in from a different, better movie.