When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated teacher is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a rifle with one bullet left. Gruesome events include kangaroo hunts – it is easier shooting them at night as they get blinded by car headlights.
Excessive drinking in those all male bars, and gambling take their toll too. There seems to be nothing else to do in this godforsaken place. Then there is Donald Pleasance – has he ever been more malevolent? – well yes, as one of the bodysnatchers in THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS in 1960, here his rough and tumble seems to lead into a sexual assault on our drunken out-of-it teacher. Regular Australians like Chips Rafferty, Jack Thompson, John Meillon also feature, and Sylvia Kay shines as the lone girl in this wilderness.
A testament too to Gary Bond, an interesting actor whose best role this is (he died aged 55 in 1995, he was in ZULU, ANNE OF A THOUSAND DAYS etc). One can feel the sticky heat as he wakes up naked and drunk in that sweltering room …. Maybe the prolific Kotcheff’s best film, not for the squeamish though.