The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From October 6

Head to the flicks to see Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in Olivia Wilde's latest, an exceptional Australian crime-thriller and a star-studded caper.
Sarah Ward
Published on October 06, 2022

Something delightful has been happening in cinemas in some parts of the country. After numerous periods spent empty during the pandemic, with projectors silent, theatres bare and the smell of popcorn fading, picture palaces in many Australian regions are back in business — including both big chains and smaller independent sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, no one was short on things to watch, of course. In fact, you probably feel like you've streamed every movie ever made, including new releasesStudio Ghibli's animated fare and Nicolas Cage-starring flicks. But, even if you've spent all your time of late glued to your small screen, we're betting you just can't wait to sit in a darkened room and soak up the splendour of the bigger version. Thankfully, plenty of new films are hitting cinemas so that you can do just that — and we've rounded up, watched and reviewed everything on offer this week.



Conformity rarely bodes well in cinema. Whenever everyone's dressing the same, little boxes litter the landscape or identical white-picket fences stretch as far as the eye can see, that perception of perfection tends to possess a dark underbelly. The Stepford Wives demonstrated that. Pleasantville, Blue Velvet and Vivarium all did as well. Yes, there's a touch of conformity in movies about the evils of and heralded by conformity; of course there is. That remains true when Florence Pugh (Black Widow) and Harry Styles (Eternals) navigate an ostensibly idyllic vision of retro suburbia in a desert-encased enclave — one that was always going to unravel when the movie they're in is called Don't Worry Darling. Don't go thinking that this handsome and intriguing film doesn't know all of this, though. Don't go thinking that it's worried about the similarities with other flicks, including after its secrets are spilled, either.

It'd be revealing too much to mention a couple of other movies that Don't Worry Darling blatantly recalls, so here's a spoiler-free version: this is a fascinating female-focused take on a pair of highlights from two decades-plus back that are still loved, watched and discussed now. That's never all that Olivia Wilde's second feature as a filmmaker after 2019's Booksmart is, but it feels fitting that when it conforms in a new direction, it finds a way to make that space its own. That's actually what Pugh's Alice thinks she wants when Don't Worry Darling begins. The film's idealised 1950s-style setting comes with old-fashioned gender roles firmly in place, cocktails in hand as soon Styles' Jack walks in the door come quittin' time and elaborate multi-course dinners cooked up each night, with its protagonist going along with it all. But she's also far from keen on having a baby, the done thing in the company town that is Victory. It'd curtail the noisy sex that gets the neighbours talking, for starters.

Immaculately clothed and coiffed women happily playing dutiful housewives in a cosy sitcom-esque dream of America generations ago: that's Wilde and screenwriter Katie Silberman's (also Booksmart) entry point; however, they waste zero time in showing how rebelling in her own child-free way isn't enough to quell Alice's nagging and growing doubts about utopia. There's much to get her querying, such as the earth-shaking sounds that rumble when Victory's men are at work, doing top-secret business on "progressive materials" out in the sandy expanse. There's the reflections in the mirror that briefly take on a life of their own, too — starting in a ballet class that's about retaining control, coveting symmetry and never upsetting the status quo far more than dancing. And, there's the pushed-aside Margaret (KiKi Layne, The Old Guard) after she disrupts a company barbecue.

All the rules enforced to keep Victory's women in their places, and the cult-like wisdom that town and company founder Frank (Chris Pine, All the Old Knives) constantly spouts, are also inescapable. So is the force with which asking questions or daring to be different is publicly nixed, as Alice quickly discovers. And, it's impossible to avoid how the men band together when anything or anyone causes a bump, even their own other halves. Swiftly, Alice's days scrubbing and vacuuming her Palm Springs-inspired bungalow, then sipping cocktails poolside or while window shopping with fellow Victory spouses like Bunny (Wilde, Ghostbusters: Afterlife) and Peg (Kate Berlant, A League of Their Own), fall under a shadow — not literally in such sunnily postcard-perfect surroundings, but with shade still lingering over every part of her routine. Speaking up just gets dismissed, and Frank and his underlings (including a doctor played by Timothy Simmons, aka Veep's Jonah Ryan, who is instantly unnerving thanks to that stroke of casting) have too-precise answers to her concerns.

Read our full review.



No emotion or sensation ripples through two or more people in the exact same way, and never will. The Stranger has much to convey, but it expresses that truth with piercing precision. The crime-thriller is the sophomore feature from actor-turned-filmmaker Thomas M Wright — following 2018's stunning Adam Cullen biopic Acute Misfortune, another movie that shook everyone who watched it and proved hard to shake — and it's as deep, disquieting and resonant a dance with intensity as its genre can deliver. To look into Joel Edgerton's (Thirteen Lives) eyes as Mark, an undercover cop with a traumatic but pivotal assignment, is to spy torment and duty colliding. To peer at Sean Harris (Spencer) as the slippery Henry Teague is to see a cold, chilling and complex brand of shiftiness. Sitting behind these two performances in screentime but not impact is Jada Alberts' (Mystery Road) efforts as dedicated, determined and drained detective Kate Rylett — and it may be the portrayal that sums up The Stranger best.

Writing as well as directing, Wright has made a film that is indeed dedicated, determined and draining. At every moment, including in sweeping yet shadowy imagery and an on-edge score, those feelings radiate from the screen as they do from Alberts. Sharing the latter's emotional exhaustion comes with the territory; sharing their sense of purpose does as well. In the quest to capture a man who abducted and murdered a child, Rylett can't escape the case's horrors — and, although the specific details aren't used, there's been no evading the reality driving this feature. The Stranger doesn't depict the crime that sparked Kate Kyriacou's non-fiction book The Sting: The Undercover Operation That Caught Daniel Morcombe's Killer, or any violence. It doesn't use the Queensland schoolboy's name, or have actors portray him or his family. This was always going to be an inherently discomforting and distressing movie, though, but it's also an unwaveringly intelligent and impressive examination of trauma.

There's no other word to describe what Mark and Rylett experience — and, especially as it delves into Mark's psychological state as he juggles his job with being a single father, The Stranger is a film about tolls. What echoes do investigating and seeking justice for an atrocious act leave? Here, the portrait is understandably bleak and anguished. What imprint do such incidences have upon society more broadly? That also falls into the movie's examination. Mark, along with a sizeable group of fellow officers, is trying to get a confession and make an arrest. Back east, Rylett is one of the police who won't and can't let the situation go. Doling out its narrative in a structurally ambitious way, The Stranger doesn't directly address the human need for resolution, or to restore a semblance of order and security after something so heinously shocking, but that's always baked into its frames anyway.

Travelling across the country, Henry first meets a stranger on a bus, getting chatting to Paul (Steve Mouzakis, Clickbait) en route. It's the possibility of work that hooks the ex-con and drifter — perhaps more so knowing that his potential new gig will be highly illicit, and that evading the authorities is implicit. Soon he meets Mark, then seizes the opportunity to reinvent himself in a criminal organisation, not knowing that he's actually palling around with the cops. It's an immense sting, fictionalised but drawn from actuality, with The Stranger also playing as a procedural. The connecting the dots-style moves remain with Rylett, but Wright's decision to hone in on the police operation still means detailing how to catch a killer, astutely laying out the minutiae via action rather than chatting through the bulk of the ins and outs.

Read our full review.



There's only one Wes Anderson, but there's a litany of wannabes. Why can't David O Russell be among them? Take the first filmmaker's The Grand Budapest Hotel, mix in the second's American Hustle and that's as good a way as any to start describing Amsterdam, Russell's return to the big screen after a seven-year gap following 2015's Joy — and a starry period comedy, crime caper and history lesson all in one. Swap pastels for earthier hues, still with a love of detail, and there's the unmistakably Anderson-esque look of the film. Amsterdam is a murder-mystery, too, set largely in the 1930s against a backdrop of increasing fascism, and filled with more famous faces than most movies can dream of. The American Hustle of it all springs from the "a lot of this actually happened" plot, this time drawing upon a political conspiracy called the White House/Wall Street Putsch, and again unfurling a wild true tale.

A Russell returnee sits at the centre, too: Christian Bale (Thor: Love and Thunder) in his third film for the writer/director. The former did help guide the latter to an Oscar for The Fighter, then a nomination for American Hustle — but while Bale is welcomely and entertainingly loose and freewheeling, and given ample opportunity to show his comic chops in his expressive face and physicality alone, Amsterdam is unlikely to complete the trifecta of Academy Awards recognition. The lively movie's cast is its strongest asset, though, including the convincing camaraderie between Bale, John David Washington (Malcolm & Marie) and Margot Robbie (The Suicide Squad). They play pals forged in friendship during World War I, then thanks to a stint in the titular Dutch city. A doctor, a lawyer and a nurse — at least at some point in the narrative — they revel in love and art during their uninhabited stay, then get caught in chaos 15 years later.

Amsterdam begins in the later period, with Burt Berendsen (Bale) tending to veterans — helping those with war injuries and lingering pain, as he himself has — without a medical license. He once had a Park Avenue practice, but his military enlistment and his fall from the well-heeled set afterwards all stems from his snobbish wife Beatrice (Andrea Riseborough, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain) and her social-climbing (and prejudiced) parents. As he did in the war, however, Burt aids who he can where he can, including with fellow ex-soldier Harold Woodman (Washington). That's how he ends up lending a hand (well, a scalpel) to the well-to-do Liz Meekins (Taylor Swift, Cats) after the unexpected death of her father and their old Army general (Ed Begley Jr, Better Call Saul). The bereaved daughter suspects foul play and Burt and Harold find it, but with fingers pointing their way when there's suddenly another body.

Two police detectives (The Old Guard's Matthias Schoenaerts and The Many Saints of Newark's Alessandro Nivola), both veterans themselves, come a-snooping — and Burt and Harold now have two tasks. Clearing their names and figuring out what's going on are intertwined, of course, and also just the start of a story that isn't short on developments and twists (plus early flashes back to 1918 to set up the core trio, their bond, their heady bliss and a pact that they'll keep looking out for each other). There's a shagginess to both the tale and the telling, because busy and rambling is the vibe, especially with so much stuffed into the plot. One of Amsterdam's worst traits is its overloaded and convoluted feel, seeing that there's the IRL past to explore, a message about history repeating itself to deliver along with it, and enough mayhem to fuel several romps to spill out around it. The pacing doesn't help, flitting between zipping and dragging — and usually busting out the wrong one for each scene.

Read our full review.


If you're wondering what else is currently screening in Australian cinemas — or has been lately — check out our rundown of new films released in Australia on July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28; August 4, August 11, August 18 and August 25; and September 1, September 8, September 15, September 22 and September 29.

You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Thor: Love and Thunder, Compartment No. 6, Sundown, The Gray Man, The Phantom of the Open, The Black Phone, Where the Crawdads Sing, Official Competition, The Forgiven, Full Time, Murder Party, Bullet Train, Nope, The Princess, 6 Festivals, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Crimes of the Future, Bosch & Rockit, Fire of Love, Beast, Blaze, Hit the Road, Three Thousand Years of Longing, Orphan: First Kill, The Quiet Girl, Flux Gourmet, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Moonage Daydream, Ticket to Paradise, Clean, You Won't Be Alone, See How They Run, Smile, On the Count of Three and The Humans.

Published on October 06, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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