The Stranger

Two strangers strike up a conversation on a long journey. One is a suspect in an unsolved missing person’s case and the other an undercover operative on his trail. Their uneasy friendship becomes the core of this tightly wrought thriller, which is based on the true story of one of the largest investigations and undercover operations in Australia.

  • Released: 2022-10-06
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
  • Stars: Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Jada Alberts, Fletcher Humphrys, Mike Foenander, Steve Mouzakis, Simon Elrahi, Alan Dukes, Ewen Leslie, Matthew Sunderland, Lucinda Nicholas, Peta Shannon, Thibul Nettle, Melanie Munt, Anni Finsterer, Patty Glavieux, Adam Morgan, Stephen Leeder, Andreas Sobik, Nick Buckland
  • Director: Thomas M. Wright
  • flcntk3-856-986017 - 2 January 2023
    simply riveting!
    This one has the same awesome and riveting impact on me as "A Ghost Story" or "Nomadland" or "The Power of the Dog" because of how it breaks the obligatory convention of its genre and stands as a unique iconoclastic beacon of its own. I am not going to disclose the story for that is also quite unique. As far as the story is concerned, it will come to you if you sit through the initially ambiguous but very intriguing plot and the likelihood that Australian may sound nothing like English to you. (fortunately, there are subtitles). The things that grabbed me the most are the orchestration of its cinematic components which is just brilliant. The design of the sound tracks, the pictorial composition of the shots, and the editing all has this very unique flavour to them. Much like the marks of finger prints, but above that all, it is the acting that kept me to my seat. Joe Edgerton and especially Sean Harris are simply just ace. The show has 2 wins and 16 nominations. This film is so good I simply can't recommend it enough.
  • Mabkid - 30 December 2022
    Solemn Slow Burn
    This is a very slow movie, be warned.

    The premise: A man is befriended into a criminal organization that cleans bad situations. He has his own past. And people are not who they say they are.

    The problem: First, it's very slow. Second, it's very hard to know what's going on in the beginning unless you've read something about The Stranger prior to viewing.

    The upside: It is amazingly well-acted, the mood is haunting, the filming is mesmerizing to follow.

    The issue will be if you can stomach both problem 1 and problem 2 until the end for 2 hours... because despite the upside, it can still be painful to sot through, because it's just that goddamn slow!
  • kosmasp - 29 December 2022
    Stop and go ... go and ...
    No pun intended - the movie starts off with a voice over. And has a hard cut ... which is probably jog the viewer. You are being taken aback more than this one time at the beginning. This is not a horror movie - and its pacing may cause problems with those watching. May even annoy you. But if you indulge in what the movie is trying to do ... you will be able to enjoy a movie and performances that go above and beyond. There is a reason this movie is in a lot of top 10 lists of 2022.

    You may have known this or not - I was aware of it and finally came around watching it, to maybe include it on my list too. What I didn't know: the movie is based on a true story (and a podcast apparently). Relax though - relax if you hear true story and already cringe that is. The movie is worth it - but only if you are able to suspend your disbelief and love stories that unfold slowly and non-linear that is. Because the movie is all over the place ... with the final image leaving you exactly there ... which is "nowhere". The podcast apparently was more ... well it explained things more.

    That may be a point that makes the movie less watchable for the masses ... but makes it greater for those who really love movies like this ... movies that are made to engage you .. to give you something to chew on. And with two lead performances that ... well they do not mirror each other and most will acknowledge Sean Harris over Joel Edgerton ... but both really are amazing in this. And while they do have similar looks ... you will not have issues distinguishing them ... telling them apart.

    Not for everyone will be something that is going to be the (catch)phrase for the movie ... the sound design, the framing, the acting ... I would not be surprised if the movie gets not just nominations, but also wins in a few categories ...
  • athanasiosze - 28 December 2022
    7.6/10. Recommended
    This is a very good movie.

    Watch it without knowing anything about the plot. It doesn't rely on twists and turns but there is an intriguing twist that changes the whole movie. Even if you know what is this about though, you will still enjoy it. Although, enjoyment is maybe not an accurate description.

    This is a slow-burn crime/drama/thriller. If you are looking for action, mindless fun, gore and mind-blowing twists and revelations, this is not your movie. Pace is slow but i didn't find it boring. It takes its time for this story to be unfold. It's based on a true story. Actors' performances are excellent, this is the best acting i have watched recently. There is nothing glamorous here, this is not a "crowd pleaser" movie, it's bleak and dark but it's not excessively bleak and dark, i mean, it's not too miserable. There are many thrilling scenes, however, at its core, this is a drama movie.

    It's the banality of evil. Evil in real life it's not Michael Myers, or demons. Evil in real life is as it is being depicted here. Real as it gets.
  • Chris_Ego - 22 December 2022
    lame movie based on true events
    Yeah yeah yeah the acting is good, the drama is choking me and the suspense creeps in at various places. BUT the storytelling is frustrating. In the first 30 minutes I just didn't understand what all these old farts in suits were supposed to be. Mark and Henry are working for shady men, doing delivery jobs. After a while it was clear that they are no mobsters. Later on I was told more about Henry's past and then some pieces of the puzzle are being put together revealing a framework of the plot. I really liked the scenes when Henry made Mark feel uncomfortable because this is when the story could have gone different places. When Mark experiences nightmares and hallucinations I thought this crime drama turns into a suspense thriller with horror elements. I was ready to see some personalities collapse into each other or at least Mark should see Henry in his mirror image. But then this idea was ditched and the film carries on dragging us through the dirty roads in the outback of Australia.

    Small spoiler: the end was unsatisfying to say the least.
  • irishviking21 - 21 December 2022
    Mr. Big
    There have been many instances of this technique being used, some are to lure suspects into false confessions (see the instance in Canada), but in this case they had far more evidence than led on in the film. It was brilliant acting, and they cleverly focused on the sting from start to finish. Rather than drawing you in by the emotional pleas of the family, they left all of it out, and zeroed in on the sting. Both leads were a coin flip on who's performance was better. I'm not sure how this isn't rated higher, but I don't know what to say as a negative, other than it's a slow slow beautiful burn. You can always look up the exact case it was based on whilst watching, but all the same, it was a beautifully dark portrayal of the real case.
  • wmcauliffe-00425 - 20 December 2022
    This is a great fictionalised take on a infamous child abductor and his capture that started with his heinous crime in my state of Queensland in Australia. The family of the boy killed never wanted this made but all i can say is his real name is never mentioned. I think it is very well done in showing how the cops got the killers confidence through a lengthy ruse. All act well in this one with Edgerton and Harris of course the standouts. Harris might be a great bloke in real life but in most things i've seen him in the creepiness of the characters he plays is always evident. Give it a watch for realistic chills.
  • elvin_queen78 - 18 December 2022
    Starkly accurate
    Sean Harris' portrayal of a monster was spot on. Why does such talent fly under the radar..?

    It's usually difficult to see the raw and bold story of circumstances surrounding a horrific crime like this one, but they told it well.

    I'm from the part of the world where this happened and it was like our own child was taken, the nation mourned. And there's now a 'No child left behind' policy so kids don't ever get driven past or refused entry to buses if they don't have the fare. . Joel's portrayal of the nightmares of having to force yourself to get/be close to such a monster was incredibly believable too so I can see why the reviews were favourable, but I still think Sean's starkly accurate portrayal of the monster was very much overlooked.
  • gabriel_sanchez - 18 December 2022
    Strong story, but characters seem not to change
    The Stranger is one of those movies that suffers from what I call the possibility of wrong POV. We start the movie through Henry's view and, out of the sudden, when we break ingo Act 2, we shift to Mark's POV.

    Mark's problem is just his daily business, his job. He does not walk into the transformation machine, and this is a big deal; except Henry does!

    Henry seems to be the one changing the most as the story progresses. Have the story used his perspective, I think we would have a better story, if, of course, some other character traits changed as well.

    Kate Rylett seemed like a good POV candidate too. She seems personally involved, but the story never explores this.

    Henry keeps talking about some "Miss" that we never get resolution about. This is one plot hole.

    The ending is freaking weird. Seems like no one changed, not sure what I should get from it.
  • gliderguy - 18 December 2022
    Worst movie I have seen in a long time
    I was 90 minutes into the "The Stranger" when I realized I had just wasted 90 minutes of my life (to paraphrase another pointless review). I had to turn subtitles on because the OZ accents and soft talk are very hard to understand. Basically, an ex-con (Joel Edgerton as Mark Frame) is recruited to do some less than legal chores which don't get adequately explained. The film is about the massive real-life manhunt for the killer of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in Queensland in 2003. It is tedious and boring to the extreme, and there is but the most subtle of final reveals at the end, leaving you to question WHY you have wasted TWO HOURS of your time getting to this point.

    Well, DON'T waste your time watching this DOG!
  • lupe-martin-lm - 18 December 2022
    Sorry but not Sorry
    It was horrible. That is all.. I know they would like me to use 600 characters. All I can say is it was not worth the watch for me.. I dozed off on it 4 times. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I am shocked because of the actors involved. However, they did the best they could do with the script. The last 30 mins I fastforwarded through so I could end my own discomfort. Why was it excruciatingly slow!? It could have been done in 30 minutes. I really am taken back by how long it is. Really all for nothing at all. Heavy Sigh. I am totally disappointed by this. It's been ages since I watch a bad film. But this is one.
  • adrianbarr-37944 - 17 December 2022
    If you were bored then it simply wasn't made for you.
    Slow, suspenseful and thought provoking. The subject matter is dark and the overall direction and editing of the film is like a nightmare, in a sense of the locations and people seem familiar but the edges of their realism seems blurred.

    A well crafted atmosphere is created throughout using its soundtrack to its full potential, uncomfortable sounds flutter in the background like an strange ominous insect burrowing further in your subconscious.

    This is not a crime thriller, nor is it a Hollywood horror. It has not been made to entertain you. It is a portrayal of a dark subject and how the people involved had to follow a slow painstaking process to achieve retribution.
  • Drawmort - 15 December 2022
    A good movie that stands out above average without being a masterpiece
    Here we have a film that stands out for containing in its script a story that progresses slowly, but with great forcefulness, about a brutal incident investigated by the Australian police. The suspense builds slowly, based on the ingenuity of a monster who becomes a cornered and desperate prey. There are good natural shots, knowing how to take advantage of photography in its colors and lighting. The performances are good and convincing, with no one standing out hugely.

    Another very good factor to highlight is the edition. There are some abrupt cuts that contribute to an unpredictable and uncomfortable environment that suits the story very well.

    It's definitely a good movie that stands out above average without being a masterpiece.
  • paul-allaer - 15 December 2022
    Harrowing psychological crime drama from Down Under
    As "The Stranger " (2022 release from Australia; 116 min) opens, we are introduced to Paul and Henry, 2 strangers who strike up a conversation on an overnight bus drive (think Greyhound). They gain each other's trust, and at Paul's invite, Henry joins him for an unspecified job Paul must do for Mark. "No violence!. Pleads Henry, and he agrees to join us. At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie.

    Couple of comments: this is the second feature from Australian actor-turned-director Thomas Wright. Almost from the get-go I found something very David Lynch-like about this movie. Yes, nominally it's about a long ago disappearance, likely murder, of a young man. But it's the journey along the way that really matters in this film. I had the hardest time figuring out what was really going on for a long time. BEWARE: it is imperative that you turn on the English subtitles to fully grasp what is happening. I made the mistake of starting without the subtitles and within 10 minutes realized I was missing half the dialogue, if not more. I restarted the movie with subtitles and that turned out to be a life saver. The movie is mysterious all the way up to the end, and I absolutely loved it. The only "star" that I recognized was Joel Edgerton (as Mark), and he was superb. I fully recognize that this movie is not for everyone, as there is not a lot of "action". Instead it's a mystery that reveals itself, layer upon psychological layer.

    "The Stranger" premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim. Still it bypassed US theaters altogether, and it started streaming on Netflix not long ago. Netflix suggested it to me based on my viewing habits. Good move Netflix. If you are in the mood for a dark psychological crime drama from Down Under, I'd readily suggest you check this out and draw your own conclusion.