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Strangerland (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 111 minutes.

Not for children.

First time director Kim Farrant has chosen an uninviting setting in the unremittingly hot Australian desert to tell the story of a marriage on the rocks which plummets into an emotional abyss when the couple’s two children go missing.

She’s lucky to have three fine actors, Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, and Hugo Weaving who seem to throw their all into the film, especially Kidman who appears stark naked in one scene with full frontal nudity. When she's clothed, rarely has she looked more beautiful.

Catherine (Kidman) and Matthew (Fiennes) have a difficult relationship, so bad that they sleep in separate rooms. When their children go missing, Rae (Weaving) gets involved since he is the police chief in Nathgari, the desolate town to which they have recently moved.

The rest is a combination mystery about what happened to their children and a psychological story of love and relationships. The story is far too long and unrelentingly dark and depressing. I was enjoying the acting and the mystery, but the last half hour goes overboard.