Lucky Country (‘Dark Frontier’)

DRAMA; 1hr 36min

STARRING: Aden Young, Toby Wallace, Pip Miller, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence

No place like home: from left, Young, Mangan-Lawrence and Wallace

The Australian bush in 1902 proves a brutal undoing for Christian widower Nat (Young). With his 12-year-old son, Tom (Wallace), and Tom’s antsy elder sister, Sarah (Mangan-Lawrence), he is struggling to coax a life from the bones of the earth — a cheerless prospect complicated by the arrival of three unsavoury men. Henry (Miller) is avuncular in a way that whispers “hidden agenda,” Carver (Neil Pigot) is a sullen tosspot, and the ailing young man with them (Eamon Farren) has a shattering secret.


It seems that there’s gold in them-thar hills, and greed and desperation being the incentives they are, every man and his mangy dog wants a chunk of it. “You think there are things you won’t do … and there’s not,” Henry observes, as if we didn’t already get it get the damning point. 


Wintry and unsparing, teetering on the rocky precipice of melodrama, Lucky Country is never as potent as director Kriv Stenders would like it to be, largely because there is nowhere for its unlikable characters to go but even further down than they initially were.