1986 Certificate: 15


Drama of sexual obsession in the Australian outback in 1939, starring Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown and Sam Neill.


  • Ken Cameron


  • Bryan Brown

  • Sam Neill

  • Rachel Ward


This Australian film is a very bizarre kettle of fish. A story of sexual obsession in the Australian outback of 1939, it marks a change of pace for husband-and-wife stars Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown. She plays the wife trying to escape her mother's reputation as a scarlet woman. He's the timber cutter she marries and who inexplicably releases her repressed passions by allowing his younger brother to make love to her. Ward has a stab at an Australian accent, Brown tries to sublimate his macho image and Sam Neill is so oily as the man who comes between them that you wonder why women are so attracted to him. It's unkind to suggest the roles are outside the range of these three actors (Ward continues to improve here) since it's probably beyond any trio of actors to make these characters and situations credible. Professionally, confidently directed by Ken Cameron, the film is beautifully photographed; even that, though, can't make this overheated melodrama seem any less unlikely than it does.