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Film / Goldstone

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Goldstone is a 2016 Australian crime thriller film directed by Ivan Sen. It is a sequel to Mystery Road and stars Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, Jacki Weaver, David Wenham and David Gulpilil.

Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons inquiry. What seems like a simple light duty investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.

Goldstone contains examples of:

  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: The Furnace Creek Mining Group employs an outlaw motorcycle gang called the Howlers as enforcers, using them to deal with troublemakers while maintaining plausible deniability.
  • Armor-Piercing Question
    • When Josh tells Jay he doesn't want to be reassigned to the middle of nowhere, Josh says, "I thought you were already there." Josh has brushed off Jay's other barbs, including an accusation of corruption, but that one pisses him off.
    • Mei also asks several to Josh, admitting they're actually to divert Josh from asking his own questions.
  • Asian Hooker Stereotype: The Chinese girls brought in to work at the mine's brothel are instructed to act this way as it is what the men expect.
  • The Atoner: Tommy ultimately chooses to turn himself in and confess to everything. Josh himself feels a little of this by the end.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Jay's grown out his hair and beard quite a bit since the previous film. It's revealed that his daughter Crystal died between movies, so it's quite likely he's depressed.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Several Furnace Creek miners show little to no emotion when they see Jay and Josh barging into the place with their guns.
  • Call-Back: The way Jay saves Josh is very similar to the way Johnno saved Jay in Mystery Road.
  • Company Town: Johnny claims that Goldstone will live or die based on the expansion and prosperity of Furnace Creek. From what we see, this is fairly accurate, which leaves the town's fate at the end of the movie questionable.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Johnny is this to Sam Bailey from Mystery Road. Sam was a fairly blue-collar rancher, Johnny is a Corrupt Corporate Executive. Sam came across as somewhat Ax-Crazy, believing that Murder Is the Best Solution and often committing the murders himself, Johnny prefers to bribe people to leave him alone or delegate his killing to others. Sam controlled sex workers through drugs, Johnny controls them through legal chicanery. Sam had a low-ranking Dirty Cop in his organization, while the influential local Mayor is in Johnny's pocket. Sam is an outspoken racist, as are his men, while any racism Johnny displays is more subtle an he's at least willing to employ Aboriginal and Asian henchmen. Sam goes to the final battle with the rest of his gang (albeit lingering in the back), while Johnny is a Non-Action Guy who cuts and runs the first chance he gets. Sam is shot dead, while Johnny escapes town.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Josh serves as this to Johnno, although neither was the main character in either movie. Johnno is a bearded, older policeman while Josh is a clean-shaven younger one. Johnno is a Creepy Good Cowboy Cop while Josh is an earnest By-the-Book Cop for the most part. Johnno's Working the Same Case investigation is largely off-screen, while Josh's gets a larger amount of screen-time. Johnno keeps his cards close to his chest rather than confiding in other local authorities, while Josh perhaps trusts the local bigwigs a little too much (at least initially) even after Johnny outright offers him a bribe. Johnno's interactions with Jay are filled with ambiguity, potential threats and feeling each other out while Josh's are more straightforward and a bit frustrated at times. Johnno is an excellent sniper, while Josh is better with a pistol and shotgun. Johnno came to the outback to get away from some kind of trouble (it's hinted he killed someone by accident) before the beginning of Mystery Road, while Josh leaves the outback at the end of Goldstone to get away from the trouble and corruption. Johnno is gunned down during his Sniper Duel with Pete, while Josh survives.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jimmy, who befriends Jay, telling him stories about his family, and is the first local of note to stand up to Furnace Creek. There's also the old white hermit who finds the lost girl's passport and makes sure it gets to Josh, despite not wanting to get involved.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Johnny is the local manager for the Furnace Creek Mining Group. He is lying to his superiors in order to push through a crooked land deal; bribing local officials; turning a blind eye when one of his partners sanctions a murder; is importing Sex Slaves to work in a quasi-legal brothel; etc.
  • Cowboy Cop: Once again Jay finds himself on the outs with everyone in his relentless quest to uncover the truth.
  • Decoy Protagonist: If you're unaware of this film being a sequel, you would be forgiven for thinking that Josh is the main character, thanks to the opening scenes.
  • Dig Your Own Grave: The bikers make Josh do this after his attempt to infiltrate the conspiracy fails. However, the time it takes him to dig allows Jay to stage a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The missing person Jay originally arrives to investigate turns out to be one of the prostitutes from the mine who tried to escape. No one from the mine reported her missing, and Jay eventually finds her body in the desert, having died a few feet away from water.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The movie opens with Jay getting pulled over for drunk driving by Josh. We later find out that his daughter died since the events of the last movie.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Josh prefers to sit on the fence—not getting involved in the corruption but turning a blind eye to it—until he gets involved with Mei, one of the indentured workers at the brothel. Later he forgoes the opportunity to arrest Maureen in exchange for helping him find Mei after she and the other girls go missing. Instead Josh is set up to be killed and only escapes because Jay followed him.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Patch, the leader of the Howlers, gets his name from the distinctive eyepatch he wears, which makes him look really badass.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Maureen paints herself as a harmless old lady who likes baking pies. However, she is actually a heartless bitch who cares for nobody but herself and even admits as much to Jay.
  • Freudian Excuse: Maureen claims this, describing her father as an unloving, hard-working farmer who ran her pretty hard (and in turn had been run hard by his father) to the point where she became just like him.
  • Hat Damage: Presumably by accident, Jay shoots the hat off the Howler who was about to execute Josh, startling him and letting Josh gain the upper hand.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Booze is being smuggled into a 'dry' Aboriginal community, the town mayor and local Land Council are in the pocket of the mining company, the rowdy mine workers keep getting into brawls, women are being flown in to work as indentured prostitutes—Josh turns a blind eye to it all, figuring he can't change anything.
  • Heritage Disconnect: Jay is surprised when Jimmy recognises him, having known his father. Turns out Jay's father was one of the Stolen Generation and originally came from Goldstone before being moved elsewhere by the government. Jimmy takes him to a sacred site, and Jay visits it again by himself at the end of the movie.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Pinky runs a one-woman travelling brothel, and she is the first person to steer Jay towards what is going on in Goldstone. Her happy-go-lucky attitude stands in contrast to the indentured Sex Slaves at the mine. Jay ends up having Sex for Solace with her.
  • Human Traffickers: The mining company is flying in indentured sex workers to work at a brothel located just off the mine's property, allowing Plausible Deniability. Mrs Lao handles this side of the business, allowing Johnny to keep his hands clean.
  • Karma Houdini: While the operation is brought down, and Federal authorities become involved in the follow-up, Maureen and Johnny both escape the town and are still at large when they're last heard of.
  • Lady Macbeth: After Jimmy refuses to support the land deal, although frustrated, Johnny is willing to accept the loss and simply stick with what they already have, but Maureen refuses to take this lying down and bribes corrupt Land Councilor Tommy to murder him.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is unclear if the two appearances of Jimmy's 'ghost' were supernatural or not. The two witnesses both had good reason to hallucinate the vision, with Jay being drunk and Tommy suffering from a guilty conscience.
  • Named After the Injury: Patch, the leader of the Howlers motorcycle gang, gets his nickname from his distinctive eyepatch.
  • Never Suicide: Jimmy's killers try to make it look like he hanged himself. Jay doesn't believe it and, after a little digging, neither does Josh.
  • New Old West: Possibly even more so that Mystery Road, with a corrupt mining company, crooked land deals taking advantage of the Natives, Chinese Soiled Doves, an outlaw (biker) gang, and a final shootout out of High Noon.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Johnny offers Jay a beer when he drops by, while Maureen bakes a pie for him, but both are deceptive and somewhat threatening during their meetings.
  • Nothing Personal
    • The Howler given the job of killing Josh says this when making him dig his grave. Josh is not inclined to agree.
    • The Aboriginal security officer opens fire on Jay, causing his vehicle to crash and enabling Johnny to escape, but when he has Jay in his sights while Josh can barely stand, he just walks away rather than kill him. Of course up to that point he could legitimately claim he was doing his job, given that Jay was trespassing.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Jay isn't that old, but he and local cop Josh form this throughout the story, although they take a while to trust each other and start working together.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Patch, the leader of the Howlers motorcycle gang.
  • Person with the Clothing: Patch, the leader of the Howlers, gets his nickname from his Eyepatch of Power.
  • The Place: Goldstone is a flyspeck mining town in the middle of nowhere.
  • The Quiet One: Jay was by no means talkative in Mystery Road, but he's downright taciturn in this film, rarely saying more than he has too, or speaking without being spoken too.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Following the hornet's nest he stirred up in Mystery Road, Jay is assigned to investigate a six month old missing person case in the middle of nowhere. Unsurprising given that he was involved in shooting five people, one of them a police officer. His drinking problem can't have helped either.
  • Sex for Solace: Both protagonists have sex with prostitutes despite being police officers; Jay with Pinky (because he's depressed after losing his daughter) and Josh with Mei (because he's been avoiding any proper relationship).
  • Sex Slave: The Furnace Creek Mining Group flies in indebted sex workers from China to work off their debt providing sexual services to the miners. Mrs. Lao holds their passports so they cannot flee, and threatens to tell their families what they've been doing if they cause trouble. Before the events of the movie, one girl was apparently able to find her passport and escape, only to die of thirst in the desert.
  • Scenery Porn: Desolate as the Australian outback is, there's several airborne shots showing its beauty.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Jimmy walks out (literally, as he doesn't have a car) on the ceremony to sign over the Aboriginal land to Furnace Creek Mining Group. This throws a Spanner in the Works because up till then things have been going smoothly.
    • After Tommy walks into the police station and confesses to murdering Jimmy, Maureen and Johnny both make haste to get out of town.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Despite the brothel not being officially connected with the mine, there's a security vehicle parked near the place to keep an eye on things.
  • Small-Town Tyrant: Maureen is the mayor of Goldstone, and is in bed with the local mining corporation as they try to push through a crooked land deal. She will do anything, including murder, to make sure she gets her piece of the pie.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Hinted at with Mrs. Lao, who runs the brothel, but has an emotional speech asking if Mei thinks she is a bad person, and saying that they have no choice or options. And then there's Jay himself....
  • There Was a Door: Jay and Josh drive through the gate to the Furnace Creek compound at the end, causing the security guard to dive aside rather than get run over.
  • Villainous Breakdown: For all her talk about how tough she is, Josh finds Maureen collapsed on the floor in a distraught state while shredding papers prior to doing a runner.
  • Villainous Valor: Johnny's escape is allowed by a relatively minor henchman remaining to provide covering fire for him as he flees to a waiting plane, preventing Jay from stopping him, then remaining behind and, after a brief Mexican Standoff, sparing Jay's life.
  • Vehicular Assault: The Howlers attempt to ram Jay's car off the road. He manages to turn the tables and runs their car into a solid metal fence post.