Strangerland

In the most arresting scene of this Australian drama, a married couple (Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes) are overtaken by a dust storm while driving down the main street of their outback town, and they emerge from their vehicle into a brown, sunlit cloud, excited children firing cap pistols as they race past in the mist. The couple are searching for their depressive son and flirtatious teenage daughter, and as a local detective (Hugo Weaving) investigates, the family’s past is revealed to be as dark and disorienting as the dust storm. Director Kim Farrant paces her story deliberately, building up a heavy, almost oppressive tone, and Kidman takes advantage of it, burrowing into a complex and unglamorous character. Screenwriters Michael Kinirons and Fiona Seres trace the daughter’s coquettishness back to the mother’s unresolved sexual issues, though these are never coherently presented.