Impatient viewers may find the first half of Sue Brooks’s second feature disconcertingly banal. The instant hostility between a no-nonsense geologist (Toni Collette) and a Japanese businessman (Gotaro Tsunashima) she escorts through the Australian outback threatens to deteriorate into either a set of culture-clash cliches or an anemic screwball comedy. But just when the urge to flee the theater gets strong, the film turns into something richer and stranger. Brooks’s audacious attempt to frustrate viewer expectations is more a cannily executed stunt than a tour de force, but Collette’s pitch-perfect performance and the stunning evocation of the forbidding and beautiful outback make this film unexpectedly rewarding. In English and subtitled Japanese. 107 min.