Mystery Road


In his astonishing and mesmerising new film, Ivan Sen uses the conventions of the Western and the police procedural in a subtle examination of the social and political context of a small town in the Australian outback.

Aboriginal detective Jay Swan returns to his remote hometown and his first case is the murder of an Aboriginal teenage girl.

Having spent a considerable amount of time in the big city, when Jay returns he is alienated from both the police force and his community, including his own wife and daughter.

Though thwarted in his investigations by a lack of cooperation from the locals, and a lack of interest from his fellow cops, Jay gradually unravels a complex crime web, and each step reveals another link.

Sen has made a suspenseful and intelligent mystery aided by terrific performances. The outback, in all its widescreen glory, plays its part too. Ivan Sen's Mystery Road is all the more remarkable given that he directed, wrote, shot, edited and scored the film.

A deeply satisfying and slow-burning modern-day western.

— Sydney Morning Herald

A follow-up to Mystery Road is Ivan Sen's film Goldstone.

Watch Mystery Road trailer


Aaron Pedersen - Aboriginal Detective Jay Swan
Hugo Weaving - Johnno, drug-squad boss
Ryan Kwanten - Pete Bailey, hothead
Jack Thompson - Mr Murray, retiree
Tony Barry - Sergeant
Bruce Spence - Jim, coroner
Robert Mammone - Constable Roberts
Roy Billing - Mick
Jack Charles - old boy
Daniel Roberts - Macca
Tasma Walton - Mary Swan (Jay's wife)
Damian Walshe-Howling - Wayne
Samara Weaving - Peggy
Lillian Crombie - Mrs MacDonald
David Field - Mr. Bailey (racist farmer)
Zoe Carides - Shirley
Daniel Connors - Kenny
Tricia Whitton - Crystal, Jay's daughter
Siobhan Binge - Tarni
Jarrah Louise Bundle - Ashley
Angela Swan - Jasmine
Geoff Potter - Ted
Hayden Spencer - truck driver
Michael Connors Jnr - Jordan
Michael Connors - Marbuck
Daneeka Connors - Presto
Geoff Potter - Jim's assistant
Release dates
5 June 2013 - World premiere at the Sydney Film Festival
17 October 2013 - Australia
29 August 2014 - UK
15 October 2014 - USA
Video/DVD release date
12 February 2014
Best film - Australian Film Critics Association Awards 2014 Best actor (Aaron Pedersen) - Australian Film Critics Association Awards 2014 Best supporting actor (Hugo Weaving) - Australian Film Critics Association Awards 2014 Best director - Australian Film Critics Association Awards 2014 Best screenplay - Australian Film Critics Association Awards 2014 Best cinematography - Australian Film Critics Association Awards 2014
MA 15+ - Mature accompanied
Dark Matter
Ivan Sen

Shot on location in Winton, Central Queensland.

For Mystery Road, Ivan Sen was writer, director, casting agent, cinematographer, editor, sound and music designer.

The film was partly inspired by the unsolved murders of three members of Ivan Sen's family—all young Aboriginal women.

The 6-part series on ABC television won Best Original Music Score and Best Editing at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards 2018.

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2018, Mystery Road, <>, retrieved 25 May 2024

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