The eye-scorching Australian outback takes centre stage in Sue Brooks' lyrical culture-clash road-movie, which sees no-nonsense Oz geologist Sandy (Toni Collette) take uptight Japanese suit Hiro (Gotaro Tsunashima) on a tour of remote ore mines. Sounds enticing, no? Well, it soon breaks away from this slight, unprepossessing premise to roam free, crossing cultural divides and exploring themes of attraction, loneliness and, ultimately, loss.
Despite her unflattering haircut and sunburned nose, Collette is the one element not relegated to the background by the incredible desert scenery. Whether delivering bluff chumminess, tender sexuality or the odd gut-trembling blub, her moving performance ensures Japanese Story lives long in the senses.