Toronto International Film Festival: Limbo / Video Interview with Actor/Executive Producer Simon Baker and Writer/Director Ivan Sen

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The most compelling, meaningful movies often offer a searing commentary on social issues that are universally relevant to audiences around the world. Acclaimed Indigenous Australian film auteur Ivan Sen (Mystery Road) has made another insightful feature with the new crime drama, Limbo. The movie is a poignant, intimate journey into the complexities of loss and the impact of the justice system on Aboriginal families in Australia.

The film offers a searing commentary on the failures of colonial law enforcement and judicial systems in serving Indigenous peoples. The characters in the drama are all stuck in their own limbo, as they’re unable to move out of their situations which have been created by their environments. They all struggle to overcome that state, as they realize they’re all catalysts for each other’s change, which will allow them to break free.

Sen wrote, directed, served as the cinematographer, edited and produced Limbo, in which he transforms the sun-drenched landscapes of the Australian Outback into a brooding black-and-white world. Simon Baker starred in the movie’s lead role of Detective Travis Hurley and served as an executive producer on the project.

Sen and Baker generously took the time the morning of the feature’s North American premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week to talk about making the project during a Zoom interview.

You can watch the video above, and read below for an official summary.

Limbo follows Travis as he arrives in the remote eponymous outback town, where people believe time — and reality — are somehow suspended. An old opal mining area, Limbo is riddled with labyrinthine tunnels; many of the dwellings, including Travis’ motel, are built into the earth and stone to provide escape from the oppressive heat of Southern Australia.

Battling inner demons and a drug addiction, Travis is in Limbo to reopen the 20-year-old cold case of a murdered Indigenous girl, Charlotte, whose killer may still live locally. Her death — and the subsequent apathy of the investigating officers and non-Indigenous community members — are still painfully felt by her sister Emma (Natasha Wanganeen) and brother Charlie (Rob Collins).

Charlotte’s siblings both make it clear to Travis that they doubt his ability to solve the case, as there’s little evidence and community support. But as truths about the murder begin to unfold, the detective gains a new insight into the unsolved disappearance from the case’s surviving witnesses and the reclusive brother of the chief suspect.

But the troubled yet committed detective is stoically seeking some kind of redemption in the cold case. In the process, Travis confronts what all residents of Limbo seem to endure: the unrelenting sense that time is meaningless and little will ultimately change.

Limbo had its North American premiere during TIFF’s Centerpiece section on Tuesday, September 12. The drama had its second TIFF screening on Wednesday, September 13.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles. 

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