The true story of Australia's most notorious convict, Alexander Pearce and his infamous escape into the beautiful yet brutal Tasmanian wilderness.
A point of no return for convicts banished from their homeland, Van Diemen's Land was a feared and dreaded penal settlement at the end of the earth. The entrance to its remote station of secondary punishment, Macquarie Harbour, was named 'Hell's Gates' by its prisoners as a reference to the gates of hell in Dante's 'Inferno' - "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" - was plastered at the Harbour's mouth as a warning to all souls sent there. In 1822, eight convicts escaped Macquarie Harbour in a fateful bid for freedom. This band of Irish, English and Scottish thieves were immediately hurled into chaos as their plan failed and they were thrust into the heart of a harsh and foreboding landscape. With little food or equipment, in a place these immigrants knew little about, they battled a merciless enemy - the unforgiving, barren land - a land where God wields an axe.
"... nothing short of extraordinary."INDEPENDENT - 4 STARS
"Shot with breathtaking beauty and savage realism, this is an impressive portrait of crazed survival... Tasty."Ben McEachen, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - 4 STARS
"... stimulating, thought-provoking and rewarding... you're in the hands of a born filmmaker... a film you're unlikely ever to forget."David Stratton, THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN - 4 STARS
"... a hugely impressive debut for Australian filmmaker Jonathan auf der Heide... Stunningly shot in a lush, atmospheric style that favourably recalls both Peter Weir and Terrence Malick, auf der Heide is great at capturing the desperation of his protagonists as hunger sets in and thoughts of cannibalism come to the fore. That detail could have been the film's cue to descend into the realms of exploitation horror, but as with THE HURT LOCKER, auf der Heide is more interested in taking a more artful, psychological approach to potentially schlocky material and he presents us with a serious and gripping exploration of man's capacity for savagery."Alistair Harkness, THE SCOTSMAN - 4 STARS