Shawn Seet (director)
Peccadillo Pictures (studio)
30 January 2017 (released)
30 January 2017
This tense though somewhat drawn-out drama is based on the horrific real-life murders of gay men in the Australian Bondi beach area during the 1980’s and 90’s. Aussie stars Yael Stone and Noah Taylor play two detectives forced to dig in the past if they want to solve a series of recent and unexplained murders.
Previously aired on BBC4 this 4-part drama is bold in so far as it deals with topics of homophobia not only among the general public but also among the police force. When Detective Tori Lustigman (Yael Stone) returns to her native Bondi it’s not before long when she – together with colleague Detective Nick Manning (Noah Taylor) is assigned to a particularly horrid murder case when the mutilated body of a young man is found. It seems that the dead man is the latest victim in a series of recent murders and although the two detectives initially have a tough time piecing together the one thing the victims have in common is that all of the murdered men were gay. This strikes an unpleasant chord with Tori who still is traumatised by the sudden disappearance of her gay teenage brother years earlier. When a young man with an unstable mind is pulled in for questioning he grabs Tori and threatens to slash her thoat with a knife… despite her please to the colleagues not to shoot Nick fires a bullet and fatally wounds him. Tori is saved but the man who might have been able to provide some clues is dead. When another murder is committed with the same signature both Tori and Nick suddenly come to realise that the killings are probably connected to a spate of murders – often masked as suicides and disappearances – which took place along Bondi Beach during the 1980’s and 90’s. Obviously someone or indeed a small group of people took it upon themselves to rid Bondi and Australia from homosexuals, especially since back then AIDS was rampant.
As the investigations continue it soon becomes clear that those possibly connected to past events either don’t want to remember anything out of fear, indifference or ignorance or their memories are blurred. When it transpires that the disappearance of Tori’s younger brother may well have been another murder her father refuses to face up to the possibilities despite family friend Oscar (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) confessing to Tori that he and her little brother were lovers at one point and that he does not believe he simply just ‘disappeared’. Now Tori is adamant to find the culprit, or culprits no matter what…not an easy task seeing how even her superior Chief Inspector Peel (William McInnes) doesn’t exactly go out of his way to track down the killer. Chris Toohey (Ben Oxenbould) is high on the list of suspects and so are some of his buddies but no matter how clever Tori and Nick try to be, Toohey always seems one step ahead and let’s face it, perhaps he isn’t the killer after all?
Stone and Taylor throw some convincing performances here and the general atmosphere is one of looming terror and downbeat frustration. As so often these days, smart phone imagery ( pictures and text messg) float across the screen in certain key scenes to good effect, especially in one scene when our brave detectives enter a gay club looking for a suspect and only have an image of the man’s super-toned torso to go by… when almost all of the guys on the dance floor are grooving to the beat sans t-shirt!
The DVD- and Blu-ray release furthermore offers some SPECIAL FEATURES.