Mystery Road (2013)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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An Indigenous detective investigates the murder of a teenage girl in a small town in the Outback. Ivan Sen (Toomelah) crafts a mesmerising thriller with a stellar Australian cast including Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten and Jack Thompson.
Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
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Aaron Pedersen
as Det. Jay Swan
Hugo Weaving
as Johnno
Jack Thompson
as Charlie Murray
Ryan Kwanten
as Pete Bailey
Tony Barry
as Sergeant
Robert Mammone
as Constable Roberts
David Field
as Mr. Bailey
Bruce Spence
as Jim the Coroner
Jack Charles
as Old Boy
Tricia Whitton
as Crystal
Zoe Carides
as Shirley
Roy Billing
as Robbo
Lillian Crombie
as Mrs. MacDonald
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Critic Reviews for Mystery Road

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (1)

As a straight-up, "Law & Order"-esque criminal investigation, it's watchable. But lingering shots and half-baked racial commentary overstate the importance of "Mystery Road."

Full Review… | March 31, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

I won't lie and say Mystery Road kept me on the edge of my seat for its duration, but there is a lot to enjoy in its delicately peeled back layers.

Full Review… | June 27, 2016
The Film Stage

This tightly wound drama evokes a strikingly inventive sense of the Wild West in the Australian Outback.

Full Review… | August 31, 2014

Sen (who also shoots, scores and edits) goes walkabout through the minefield of contemporary Australian culture, offering an evocative snapshot of an unravelling crime scene - social, racial and economic.

Full Review… | August 31, 2014
Observer (UK)

A superior and taut outback adventure, you'd have to go back to Samson and Delilah to find an Australian feature this bonsa.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
Irish Times

Slow-burning but very powerful.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
Independent (UK)

Audience Reviews for Mystery Road

Impressive nuanced performances. A pitch-perfect and lovely final scene. One of the lesser known gems of 2014.

Mike Movie
Mike Movie

A pretty great Australian thriller that has some interesting thoughts about race and social justice. Director Ivan Sen sets a great tone with his fantastic cinematography and score, and this helped Mystery Road to capture my attention early on. With a strong script and great performances, Mystery Road brings you into the lives of these characters so that you actually care about what's going on. Aaron Pedersen elevates this film from being a straight procedural flick by creating a character who is mysterious and sympathetic. This is a man who really cares about his community, but he is torn between his ethnic ties to the community and his desire to see justice done. At the same time he is torn between his duty to his fellow police officers and the hypocrisy he feels by supporting a system that oppresses his people for the color of their skin. It's a complicated and complex performance, and it's the heart of the film. Hugo Weaving is also pretty incredible as the possible villain of the film, who is a police officer willing to do anything to get the job done. He might be crooked, he might be too extreme, but Weaving plays it with just the right amount of charm to keep you invested long enough to find out. This is indicative of the whole film. You're given just enough information to keep you hanging on, but not too much to spell everything out, making you lose interest. Mystery Road isn't a groundbreaking procedural thriller, but it's a really good one, with multiple plot lines. The mystery of the case isn't what will keep you invested if you choose to watch, it's the characters, but that's the strength of the film. You really care about these people, and what happens to them.

Nathan Martin
Nathan Martin

Between a 7/10 and 8/10, Sen (who also shoots, scores and edits) goes walkabout through the minefield of contemporary Australian culture, offering an evocative snapshot of an unravelling crime scene - social, racial and economic.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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