The IFC Films release continues a recent home-vid trend of giving away a huge plot point it needn’t. Same goes for the trailer below; watch only at your own risk.
You’ll learn the twist of the Australian drama; after all, it’s based on a true story. But in not knowing, Simone North’s film keeps you in the dark, letting your mind imagine the worst has happened to 15-year-old Rachel (Kate Bell of Geoffrey Wright’s radical reimagining of “Hamlet”) when she fails to get off the train where her father, Mr. Barber (Guy Pearce, “The King’s Speech”) awaits to take her home.
The police won’t classify Rachel as a missing person, because she’s only been gone for a couple of hours, and besides, teens run away, especially after quarrels with their parents. But Mrs. Barber (Miranda Otto, “War of the Worlds”) just has a feeling — maternal instinct, you know.
What follows isn’t classifiable as entertaining, but thanks to a rather brave turn by Ruth Bradley (“Alarm”), your attention is rapt with each distressing turn. Pearce and Otto sort of take a backseat for the film’s whole, but each gets a big moment at the end. Sam Neill, however, while no means bad, has a part so small, it smells of stunt casting.
A few brief interviews dot the extras portion, but missing is the one thing you’ll want to see: a documentary addressing the incident that inspired this work. —Rod Lott