The remarkably ambitious, Venice Film Festival-selected debut feature of Roderick MacKay, The Furnace is a thrilling Australian western that follows an unlikely duo on the run. During the Gold Rush in 1897 Western Australia, a young Afghan cameleer Hanif (Ahmed Malek) lives a harsh existence. When he stumbles across a mysterious bushman (David Wenham) with two 400oz Crown-marked gold bars in his possession, the two men hatch a plan to get the gold to a secret furnace – the only way they can remove the Crown mark and sell the gold undetected. Dodging cops, and enlisting the help of Hanif's friend, Badimaya man Woorak (Baykali Ganambarr, The Nightingale), the two men seek fortune amid the most hostile of conditions.
Why You Should See This Film
If Sweet Country and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre had a love child, The Furnace would be it. Sensitively mining both its local historical and cultural DNA as well as classical Hollywood genre conventions, The Furnace illuminates a facet of Australian history that is often overlooked: that of the Ghan cameleers. Predominately Muslim and Sikh men from India, Afghanistan and Persia, these men helped to open up Australia's desert interior, and formed bonds with local Aboriginal groups. Gorgeously shot, effectively tense and featuring great performances (especially from bright star Baykali Ganambarr), this is a unique tale worth telling.
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- Year: 2020
- Rating: MA15+
- Director: Roderick MacKay
- Cast: Michael Chiklis, Keir Dullea, Ahmed Malek, David Wenham, Baykall Ganambarr, Jay Ryan, Erik Thomson, Trevor Jamieson
- Duration: 116 minutes
- Language: English, Badimaya, Pashto, Punjabi, Cantonese