For everyone TV review: Stateless

Sofie Werner (Yvonne Strahovski) stranded in the Barton Immigration Detention Centre. Photo: Ben King

★★★★
ABC

Debuting at the Berlin International Film Festival, and bought by Netflix, local audiences can gorge on this six-episode stunner on iView.

Excoriating our inhumane mandatory detention policy – amplified by a disorientating, fractured narrative – perhaps misguidedly, only one of the key storylines centres on a refugee family. The Merger star Fayssal Bazzi is magnetic, a soulful anchor as an Afghan man trying to make the inhumanity of their imprisonment bearable for his daughter while his own mental health collapses.

Ameer (Fayssal Bazzi) and Farid (Claude Jabbour) in ABC's Stateless. Photo: Lisa Tomasetti

The Handmaid’s Tale baddie Yvonne Strahovski is spectacular as a Cornelia Rau-like character, an Australian caught up in detention after fleeing an abusive cult. The cult angle, featuring Cate Blanchett and Dominic West, doesn’t quite fit, but action movie star Jai Courtney is surprisingly effective as a detention guard plagued by the morality of his well-paid job. Beloved Offspring lead Asher Keddie is the steely voice of authority, trying to keep the centre out of the news. Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and Emma Freeman, it puts a human face to lurid headlines. Engrossing.

Cate Blanchett as Pat in ABC's Stateless. Photo: Ben King

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