Mystery Road

DRAMA; 1hr 41min

STARRING: Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten

Walking the line: Pedersen

Detective Jay Swan (Pedersen) is a western’s lone outsider, except that Jay is an Aboriginal and this leanly distinctive murder mystery from writer-director Ivan Sen (Toomelah) takes place in far-flung Queensland. Newly back in town after a stint in the city, Jay is assigned the case of a murdered teenage girl, found by a truckie in a drainpipe beside the highway with her throat cut. The case is frustrating in the same way Jay’s life is: fully accepted by neither his white police colleagues — Weaving included — nor by the indigenous community and estranged from his daughter, who could know more about the dead girl’s killing than she is sullenly letting on, he straddles a solitary line.


The town itself is parched, its people an oily cocktail of hostile and lethargic. Jay goes about his investigative business with watchful persistence deeply tinged with understandable suspicion, surrounded as he is by a barnyard of bad eggs. Setting up shop once again at the junction of Nitty and Gritty, Sen wrote the role of Jay with Pedersen in mind. And it’s a cinch to see why: the actor’s every glance is spring-loaded with unstoppable intent.