peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 08 03 Limbo

Limbo (2023)

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Ivan Sen's latest. After the speculative misfire of Expired, he took Simon Baker out to Coober Pedy and returned to his main theme of how cops and Indigenous people interact; in other words, more Mystery Road. Sen filled all the production roles (music, cinematography, editing, casting, directing, writing) and, true to form, the black-and-white photography is beautiful and perfectly composed while the pacing is soporific. The incidental soundscapes are appropriate and unobtrusive. So thumbs-up on the behind-the-camera stuff.

Notionally Baker arrives in "Limbo" from some city somewhere under instructions to review a missing-persons case from twenty years previous. The locals (mostly Rob Collins and Natasha Wanganeen) aren't keen to revisit that event but loosen up as the genre demands. Nicholas Hope, famous for gladwrapping the neighbours, looks the part of a worn out miner and is tasked with shouldering the sins of Western Civilisation. There is a gun and it goes unused, even in the sense that Daniel Ellsberg often observed of nuclear weapons (threats of use are often sufficient). It's all a bit of an ask. I did enjoy the acting but would've preferred something closer to Toomelah, where the focus is community and not cop interiority.

Peter Bradshaw (Baker as Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston, clearly he hasn't been out there), Luke Buckmaster (yep Walter White), Paul Byrnes: four stars of five from all the local tastemakers. Jason Di Rosso interviewed Sen and Baker in May 2023. Dee Jefferson also interviewed Sen for the ABC. A common audience complaint seems to be that the script is too weak. I'd say that if you've been to Coober Pedy then you've more-or-less seen this movie.