Australia’s brutal film noir

Hard-boiled Australian thrillers have won acclaim at film festivals and introduced actors who have since become Hollywood stars. Christian Blauvelt reports.

When you think of film noir, hard-boiled detectives, sultry femme fatales and shadowy American cities come to mind – not the outback. But in 2014, three major new noirs – The Rover, Cut Snake and Kill Me Three Times – made their debuts at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. They’re part of a recent wave of Australian noirs that started in 2010 with Animal Kingdom, a thriller about a family of criminals that earned Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination.

These movies have a sensibility that’s different to US film noir, even if they draw strongly from American noir conventions. The genre has also introduced new actors who have become major Hollywood stars. Christian Blauvelt reports on a wave of films that have resonated with audiences far beyond Australia.

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