Strangerland

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Strangerland
Strangerland 2015 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kim Farrant
Produced by Macdara Kelleher
Naomi Wenck
Written by Michael Kinirons
Fiona Seres
Starring Nicole Kidman
Joseph Fiennes
Hugo Weaving
Music by Keefus Ciancia
Cinematography P.J. Dillon
Edited by Veronika Jenet
Production
company
Worldview Entertainment
Dragonfly Pictures
Fastnet Films
Distributed by Alchemy
Release date
Country Australia
Ireland
Language English
Budget $10,000,000[1]
Box office
  • $100,044 (Theatrical Performance)[2] +
  • $924,894 (Home Market Performance)[1]
  • $1 million (total)

Strangerland is a 2015 Australian-Irish drama suspense film directed by Kim Farrant at her directorial debut, and written by Michael Kinirons and Fiona Seres.[3] The film stars Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, and Hugo Weaving. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2015[4] and in a limited release in cinemas and through video on demand on 10 July 2015 by Alchemy.[5] It was a box office bomb, grossing $1 million against a $10 million budget.

Plot[edit]

Catherine and Matthew Parker move with their children Lily and Tom to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari. Although the family is unhappy with the move, Matthew and Tom blame Lily for forcing them to leave the larger town of Coonaburra. When he can't sleep, Tom sometimes walks around the neighbourhood at night, an activity his parents discourage. One night, Matthew sees Tom leave the house, followed by Lily. He says nothing and goes back to sleep. Catherine oversleeps, and when she cannot find the kids, calls Matthew at work. He reassures her that they must have gone to school before she woke up. When the school calls to report that Tom and Lily have not been attending, she once again becomes worried, as a dust storm is scheduled to hit the town. Matthew discourages her from contacting anyone, as he does not wish the family's business to once again become public knowledge. Against his wishes, Catherine contacts several people and finally the police.

While taking their report, Detective David Rae finds that Lily has once before been reported missing. Catherine and Matthew reluctantly reveal that she had disappeared for a few days and turned up at a friend's house. After further investigation, Rae learns that one of Lily's Coonaburra teachers, Neil McPherson, had sex with her. When Matthew found out, he beat up McPherson. The Parkers admit to Rae that they left Coonaburra to escape the attention. Catherine becomes frustrated with Matthew's focus on his job as a pharmacist, though he insists that he has no choice, since the community needs his services. Rae's queries in town reveal that Lily had multiple sexual relationships despite being underage. When Catherine finds Lily's diary, it includes pictures and poetry about several people: McPherson, the Parker's mentally handicapped handyman Burtie, and a local youth nicknamed Slug. It also describes her parents' marriage as a sham, which causes Catherine to cry. Catherine hands the diary to Rae with the proviso that he not reveal it to Matthew.

Matthew drives to Coonaburra and threatens McPherson. Coreen, Rae's girlfriend and Burtie's sister, becomes annoyed when Rae won't share details of the case with her. Rae secretly shreds the evidence that connects Burtie to Lily and discourages Burtie from telling him anything incriminating. Rae arrests Slug, but without any evidence must release him. When the kids remain missing, the town organises a search party. Matthew refuses to participate, further angering Catherine. Rae suggests to Catherine that her children could have run away for a reason. Catherine confronts Matthew with Lily's sexual history and asks if he molested her. Incredulous, he denies it and asks why she would even ask; she cites his apparent reluctance to help find the kids. Knowing now that Burtie had a sexual relationship with Lily, Matthew beats up Burtie and searches his house. Coreen demands Rae arrest Matthew, and when she accuses him of taking the Parkers' side, Rae reveals Burtie's connection.

Burtie visits the Parkers and asks to speak with Matthew. Catherine invites him in, but he leaves when she attempts to seduce him in Lily's clothes. When Matthew drives into the desert alone, he finds Tom dehydrated and delirious. Tom initially refuses to speak, and Catherine yells at him; Tom eventually tells Matthew that he saw Lily get into a car. Catherine listens as locals discuss Lily's disappearance and likely death, and becomes distraught when she receives prank calls that call Lily promiscuous. She visits Rae, and when she fails to seduce him, wanders into the desert alone. She later reappears in town, naked. In bed together, as they hold each other, Catherine admits that she hid the diary from Matthew, and Matthew admits he saw the kids leave at night. He says he did not stop them because he wanted to punish Lily. Catherine hugs Tom and walks onto the porch, where she and Matthew console each other. While holding Lily's diary, Matthew cries and says that he wishes he could take back that moment.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

On 20 October 2013 Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, and Hugo Weaving joined the cast of the thriller film. Screen Australia announced it would finance the film. Macdara Kelleher and Naomi Wench were announced as producers, and Kim Farrant was announced as director, with a script by Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons.[3] The other cast members announced included Lisa Flanagan, Martin Dingle Wall, Meyne Wyatt and Nicholas Hamilton.[8] On 13 March 2014 Joseph Fiennes joined the film, replacing Pearce.[6] On 27 March 2014 it was announced that Maddison Brown had landed a lead role in the film to debut her acting career, which Worldview Entertainment would finance.[7]

Filming[edit]

On 27 March 2014 it was announced that the shooting of the film was set to start in the last week of March in Sydney.[9] The filming was also set to take place in Canowindra and Broken Hill in New South Wales,[8] and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.[10] Shooting began on 31 March 2014.[11][12][13]

Release[edit]

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2015.[4] Shortly after the premiere, Alchemy acquired distribution rights to the film.[14] The film went on to screen at the Belgrade Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival.[15][16][17] The film will be[clarification needed] released in the United States on 10 July 2015 in a limited release and through video on demand.[5]

Reception[edit]

Marketing[edit]

An image and a new synopsis was revealed on 5 May 2014.[18] On 3 June 2015 the official poster was released.[5]

Critical[edit]

Strangerland was met with mixed to negative reviews, earning a 39% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 62 critics with a weighted average score of 5.2/10. The site's consensus: "Strangerland has a marvelous cast, but their efforts aren't enough to overcome the story's blandly predictable melodrama.".[19] Metacritic reports a normalized score of 42 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20]

Brad Wheeler of Globe and Mail gave a positive review, calling it "Eerie and unpredictable, Strangerland holds attention, even if traditional suspense tricks are avoided like they were dingos at the daycare." Matthew Lickona of San Diego Reader commented "Director Kim Farrant goes for a feeling that's as harsh, unforgiving, and wild as the land she lets the camera linger on, and it's the right idea when handling the potential melodrama of the material." Staci Layne Wilson of AtHomeInHollywood.com stated that the film is "presented through a prism of womanly wantonness juxtaposed with a mother's pain and fear." Joe McGovern of Entertainment Weekly complimented Nicole Kidman, saying "her best performances have often been as grieving moms (Dead Calm, The Others, Rabbit Hole) and here she provides the flaccid movie's sole flash of daring and unpredictability."

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave a negative review, saying the film "runs out of gas, leaving us with a couple of final "Forget You" (shall we say) moments. Thanks. Thanks for nothing."

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
AFCA Awards Best Actress Nicole Kidman Nominated
Best Cinematography P.J. Dillon Nominated
FCCA Awards Best Actress Nicole Kidman Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Hugo Weaving Nominated
Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Kim Farrant Nominated
Sydney Film Festival Sydney Film Prize for Best Film Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Strangerland (2015)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Strangerland (domestic + foreign grosses)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Bulbeck, Pip (20 October 2013). "Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving to Star In Australian Feature 'Strangerland'". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Strangerland". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c <%- movieName %> (2015-06-03). "Exclusive: The Poster for Strangerland, Starring Nicole Kidman". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  6. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (13 March 2014). "Joseph Fiennes Replacing Guy Pearce In 'Strangerland'". deadline.com. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (27 March 2014). "Maddison Brown to Co-Star With Nicole Kidman in 'Strangerland'". variety.com. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Bulbeck, Pip (27 March 2014). "Nicole Kidman's 'Strangerland' Begins Shooting in Australia". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Molumby, Deirdre (27 March 2014). "Irish-Australian Feature 'Strangerland' Begins Shooting". iftn.ie. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Extra-special day for Alice Springs as big-screen drama comes calling". M.ntnews.com.au. Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  11. ^ "Shooting Starts On 'Strangerland'". filmink.com.au. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Sams, Christine (31 March 2014). "Nicole Kidman firing up rural hearts with filming of Strangerland in Canowindra". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Van Boom, Daniel (31 March 2014). "Nicole Kidman swaps Hollywood for a tiny Australian township to shoot indie thriller Strangerland". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Sundance: Alchemy Acquires Nicole Kidman Drama 'Strangerland'". Thewrap.com. 2015-01-24. Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  15. ^ "Strangerland @Belgrade Film Festival | Hugo Weaving | Random Scribblings". Hugo.random-scribblings.net. Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  16. ^ "Strangerland". SIFF.net. Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Raup, Jordan (5 May 2014). "First Image of Nicole Kidman & Joseph Fiennes In 'Strangerland' and New Synopsis". thefilmstage.com. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Strangerland (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  20. ^ "Strangerland Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 

External links[edit]