Son Of A Gun (2014, dir. Julius Avery)

A young convict gets in over his head with a charismatic bank robber. Generally effective crime drama with a few black comic and slightly pretentious touches. Solid performances and a matter-of-fact approach to the action help.

Here’s the trailer.

Alien Parasite [AKA The Dustwalker] (2020, dir. Sandra Sciberras)

A remote Australian desert township is attacked by extraterrestrial parasitic organisms. SF/horror that has a pleasing Outback Western feel and which starts well, but soon descends into badly-scripted and underpowered wholescale genre theft. A shame, as there’s glimmers of a much better film here.

Here’s the trailer.

Two Heads Creek (2019, dir. Jesse O’Brien)

Adopted twins flee Brexit Britain searching for their birth mother, apparently living in a remote Australian township. Scattershot horror-comedy in need of a second script-editing opinion. Competently made, and with glimmers of focus and satire, making the film all the more frustrating to sit through.

Dark Place (2019, dir. Kodie Bedford, Perun Bonser, Rob Braslin, Liam Phillips, Bjorn Stewart)

Five horror shorts concerned with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females, and with the legacies of colonialism. Not a dud among them either, with a range of subgenres and stylistic approaches (from human trafficking to vampirism, and from moody b/w to Raimi-esque splatter comedy). Each stand-alone story is brisk and effective enough to earn its place and more. Recommended.

Red Hill (2010, dir. Patrick Hughes)

The arrival of a transferred deputy to a remote Australian community coincides with the escape of a vengeful murderer. While the plot elements don’t quite work, this is nevertheless a well-staged and good-looking contemporary Western/horror hybrid, with a couple of mythic touches and a great villain.

True History of the Kelly Gang (2019, dir. Justin Kurzel)

The life of an Australian outlaw, as narrated to his child. An excellent adaptation of the Peter Carey novel, with vivid performances and a distinctive visual approach. The best movie version of the Ned Kelly story to date, and a strong arty outback Western in its own right. Recommended.

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985, dir. George Miller & George Ogilvy)

Max Rockatansky encounters a fledgeling civilisation in the desert. The third (though chronologically fourth, after Fury Road) Mad Max flick is glossier, talkier and generally lighter than its predecessors, but nevertheless works as a hugely detailed action fantasy riffing on Peter Pan and Riddley Walker while delivering a fantastic chase sequence.

Backtrack (2015, dir. Michael Petroni)

A psychiatrist’s visions of his dead daughter lead him to confront the secrets of his youth. Initially contrived but nevertheless effective supernatural thriller with plenty of jump scares and a couple of interesting ideas.

Boys in the Trees (2016, dir. Nicholas Verso)

A teen struggles with his past and future one Halloween. Excellent little coming-of-age drama with a supernatural edge. Slight, but beautifully shot and performed, and it doesn’t do the things lesser movies might have.

Cargo (2018, dir. Yolanda Ramke & Ben Howling)

A race against time to get a baby to safety following her father’s zombie virus infection. Quirky z-movie, both effective in places and slightly undone by its episodic nature. Good performances and a keen sense of place anchor the drama.