In desolate New Zealand terrain in the late 19th century, Chan (Shaun Bao) and his elderly mining companion claw the earth for gold and plant plum trees, patronize a nearby saloon and yearn for families in China, which they haven’t glimpsed in more than 12 years. Director Leon Narbey has crafted a slow-paced but cumulatively absorbing narrative of the physical and emotional struggles of these Chinese immigrants that blends the cinematographic look and style of Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller with the tone (and music score) of Peter Weir’s early work, particularly Picnic at Hanging Rock. Young Chan does hit a pocket of the glittery stuff, freaks out in an opium den, trades warily with likewise mistrustful Caucasians, exasperates a Christian minister in theological debate, makes the acquaintance of a half-Chinese woman acrobat, and places wagers on a cricket fight—yes, a cricket fight—that may move some audience members to organize an association for the prevention of cruelty to insects. The themes crisscrossing every episode are the thin and perhaps dotted line between hope and delusion and the torment of choosing between self-fulfillment and deeply embedded, guilt-inspired duty, between seizing an opportunity for happiness now or clinging on to an image, a dream of contentment later. A very nicely and completely realized film. Definitely well worth a look. It’s not only Australia that’s churning out interesting cinema “”down under.”