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Van Diemen's Land

Thriller, Biography 1h 44m 2009

AroView: Forbidding re-enactment of the “legend” of Alexander Pearce, who escaped from a penal colony in 1822 into the unforgiving Tasmanian wilderness with seven fellow prisoners, an axe, and no apparent source of nourishment.

Keeping the horror and comic potential of this “cannibal hymn” in deliberate check, the first-time feature film-makers make admirable use of a low budget to build a survivalist adventure of brooding intensity. Narrowing down Pearce’s story to its primal elements, the lean screenplay perhaps keeps emotional connection too much at arm’s length, but the top-notch performances (with some dialogue in Irish Gaelic) and production detail still succeed in putting the viewer dead in the seat of the action.

Co-written by the director with lead actor Oscar Redding, this expands on their short film on the same subject, “Hell’s Gates”.







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