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Strangerland

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Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes play the recently transplanted parents of two in small-town Australia. Their son is given to walking around town late at night; their daughter, to more horizontal activities. (See also: the reason for the recent move.) When the kids disappear, the family's business becomes everybody's business — both for those who are trying to help and those who are not — and Mom and Dad start to crack at their weak points. The dust storm that blows through town provides a fine metaphor: an engulfing force, sullying everything, seeping in everywhere, and demanding hard, tedious effort for the repair and restoration of what was damaged. Director Kim Farrant goes for a feeling that's as harsh, unforgiving, and wild as the land she lets the camera linger on, and it's the right idea when handling the potential melodrama of the material. But while the regal Kidman's extended unraveling may be unsettling, it's only fitfully fascinating, and the film struggles to drag itself and the viewer toward the oddly arty finish. With Hugo Weaving as a conflicted cop. (2015) — Matthew Lickona

Rated R | 1 hour, 52 minutes
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