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Incident at Raven's Gate

Incident at Raven's Gate (1988) Movie Poster
  •  Australia  •    •  94m  •    •  Directed by: Rolf de Heer.  •  Starring: Steven Vidler, Celine O'Leary, Ritchie Singer, Vincent Gil, Saturday Rosenberg, Terry Camilleri, Max Cullen, Peter Douglas, Ernie Ellison, Brian O'Connor, Ruth Goble, Paul Philpot, Max Lorenzin.  •  Music by: Roman Kronen, Graham Tardif.
      Ex-con Eddie Cleary gets a job working on his older brother's isolated farm. It's not long before bizarre things start happening--dead birds falling out of the sky, family pets attacking their owners, strange apparitions beginning to appear, and people who had been "normal" suddenly going insane.

Review:

Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
Image from: Incident at Raven
I've got to give a kind of spoiler on the spoiler - I can't EXACTLY give the ending away, because the directorscreenwriter doesn't completely give the ending away! Nevertheless, it is clear in the end what the general idea is. If you're a Peter Weir addict, you may like this film or at least cut it some slack. If not...

As other reviewers have pointed out, the film presents us with a disparate group of people each isolated in their own way in a remote and challenging landscape. All have their own issues, and consequently aren't automatically brought together by the mysterious problems that slowly arise: instead they are confused and divided, unlike the outcome in some other films of this type. That, together with a lot of intentional vaguerie, gives the film dimensions that make it interesting and discussion-worthy to some. However I think most people, certainly those looking for a tight plot that comes together in a definite answer in the end, are going to be frustrated and irritated by the story and its "resolution."

The acting is good, and though I wasn't particularly impressed by the heroic "ex-con judged by his reputation" stereotype, it was played perfectly competently by Steven Vidler, likewise the stressed-out obsessed cop well played by Vincent Gil; the nature of the plot is such that random and uncoordinated behaviour actually contributes to where the story is going - in the end a government conspiracy is vaguely alluded to, but its nature or intent is left deliberately vague (in the NetFlix version I saw anyway.)

I wasn't particularly impressed by the "suspense," which is achieved by a lot of jump cuts of frenetic behaviour in dark rooms. Things happen, something else happens, the action shifts... The film eventually ends...

I love the movies of Peter Weir, and Director Rolf de Heer is obviously heavily influenced by the opacity of his countryman's films. Weir, however, is alluding to semi-mystical powers of nature, which has nothing to do with whatever is being encountered at Raven's Gate.


Review by andyetris@yahoo.com from the Internet Movie Database.