Madman ( 91 minutes) Rental
QUEENSLAND farmer and depressed widower John Woldring ( William McInnes) finds a battered, distraught and lost young woman stumbling around his outback property. She collapses and he rather reluctantly cares for her, although she doesn’t speak English. Woldring is locked into his lonely existence, with only his loyal dog for company. Soon he finds out the woman’s name is Tahmeena ( Monic Hendrickx) and that she is an Afghan, an illegal immigrant on the run from some shady types who have exploited her — and other vulnerable women — by forcing them into prostitution. Despite the language barrier, the terrified runaway and the boozy recluse begin to form a tentative friendship. As her story unfolds they both begin to emerge from their self- protective shells. Director Peter Duncan has adapted a 1998 Dutch film, The Polish Bride, in which Hendrickx took the same role. Bille Brown is the local publican and David Field the policeman, who are both looking for her. The film makes some points about the harsh treatment of illegal refugees, with undercurrents of terrorism and sexual slavery adding to the tension. McInnes, stoic and unshaven, is well cast as the bloke just going through the motions, and Hendrickx is also fine as the woman who has not only lost her daughter but finds herself alone and dependent on the kindness of strangers. As a thriller, Unfinished Sky moves from taut to somewhat baggy. But the underlying feeling of unease that arises from Tahmeena’s vulnerability lingers.