Van Diemen's Land (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Van Diemen's Land
Directed byJonathan auf der Heide
Written by
  • Jonathan auf der Heide
  • Oscar Redding
Produced byMaggie Miles
CinematographyEllery Ryan
Edited byCindy Clarkson
Music byJethro Woodward
Release date
  • 24 September 2009 (2009-09-24)
Running time
104 minutes
  • English
  • Irish
Box office$289,858

Van Diemen's Land is a 2009 Australian thriller set in 1822 in colonial Tasmania.[1] It follows the story of the infamous Irish convict, Alexander Pearce, played by Oscar Redding[2] and his escape with seven other convicts. The voice-over and some of the dialogue is in Irish.


The film takes place in 1822 in Tasmania and is loosely based on a true story. A group of transported convicts, suffering brutal treatment at the Sarah Island penal settlement on Van Diemens Land, as Tasmania was then known (until 1856) escape into the wilderness in hopes of reaching the settlements to the east.[3] Their enthusiasm and bravado soon give way to hunger, which saps their strength and causes them to despair.[4] Former urban dwellers, the English, Irish and Scottish convicts realise that not only are they lost,[5] but they do not even know how to hunt or fish. Hunger and despair forces the group to switch to cannibalism, and the band is separated by a difference in opinion on this. Some of the group members separate from the group and walk to their imminent death. The men do all in their power to keep moving, watch their back and avoid sleep, lest they be the next meal.[6] The film ends with only one survivor, Alexander Pearce.[7]



  • Alexander Pearce – Aged 32, Irish, thief
  • Robert Greenhill – 32, English, sailor
  • Matthew Travers – 27, Irish, farmer
  • Alexander Dalton – 25, Irish, ex-soldier
  • John Mather – 24, Scottish, bread baker
  • Thomas Bodenham – 22, English, thief
  • William Kennerly – 44, Irish, thief
  • Edward 'Little' Brown – 48, English, profession unknown


Release and reception[edit]

Van Diemen's Land was released in Australian cinemas on 24 September 2009, and was rated MA15+ for "strong violence and coarse language".[9] It received mostly positive reviews, and earned an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 reviews with an average 6.6/10 rating.[10] During the opening weekend, the film grossed $39,939 at the 9 theatres it played ($4,438 average).[11] The film won 2 awards in 2009: Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival(New Visions Award - Special Mention) and Torino Film Festival award for Best Script - Special Mention.

Box office[edit]

Van Diemen's Land grossed $289,858 at the box office in Australia.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stratton, David (19 September 2009). "Escape into a different hell". The Australian. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  2. ^ "FFF. FILM". Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  3. ^ Fantastic Fest Review: Van Diemen's Land – Film School Rejects
  4. ^ Byrnes, Paul (28 September 2009). "Van Diemen's Land". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  5. ^ Morris, Anthony (22 September 2009). "Van Diemen's Land – review". TheVine. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  6. ^ Van Diemen's Land (2009) – Fantasy FilmFest Archiv
  7. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  8. ^ Characters Archived 9 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Van Diemen's Land". Australian Classification Board. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Van Diemen's Land (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Urban Cinefile - Box Office".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2010.

External links[edit]