By: Russ Matthews
Simon Baker (Breath) is unrecognisable as weathered and broken detective Travis Hurley.
He has been sent to a small outback community amongst abandoned Opal mines to investigate a twenty-year-old cold case. The police officer’s brief is to determine if the case involving the disappearance of a young Aboriginal lady is worth reopening. Initially, he is met with resistance by the family and the First Nations leadership, but he eventually gains their confidence. As he deals with his personal issues, Travis begins to piece together the history and develops close ties with many within the tight-knit people. Yet, despite his emotional connections to the family, he must determine if he has enough evidence to reopen the case and give closure to all involved.
Filmed in shades of black and white, Ivan Sen captures the shades of grey that paint these storylines. The director does more than depict the underlying racism that defines much of this investigation as he exposes the less-than-appealing layers of society and the human heart. Sen unleashed a shadowed message of delayed justice through his character development and cinematic vision. The despair and hopelessness of his vision are compelling as it quietly unpacks the vicious underbelly of this all too familiar societal narrative.
Leaves Audiences Pondering Darkness and Hope
Simon Baker commits to this role to such a degree that he must rely on everything that has not defined his career in the past. Gone are the looks and charm that have epitomised his roles, and he is allowed to show that he has exceptionally well-crafted dramatic chops. All the while, he is surrounded by commanding performances from Rob Collins, Natasha Wanganeen, and Nicholas Hope that helped to slowly peel back the layers of Sen’s confronting tale. One that captures the essence of Australian cinema that lays bare the human soul and our need for justice and closure.
Limbo is devastatingly beautiful and will leave audiences pondering the darker corners of humanity while looking for the potential hope within the grey of our souls.
Reel Dialogue: Justice
“The Lord loves justice” – Psalm 33:5
How can we trust that justice will be done? One of the critical themes of Limbo is the notion that we must choose to take justice into our own hands or do we wait for the authorities to do the work. Law enforcement, the judicial system, and even God seem to be questioned on their ability to properly administer justice.
Can we know that justice will prevail in this world? Thankfully, despite the most desperate situations, there are answers to these questions, and the role of righteous judge has been taken. Travis Hurley listens to portions of the Bible as he arrives in the small town. Yet, unlike the film, that aspect doesn’t need to be where that influence ends.
If you are looking for the ultimate definition of justice, the story of Jesus is a great place to start.
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.