How far would you go to clear your family's name? What would you face to find your fortune? Why are we so drawn to incomplete or unfulfilled stories? These are some of the questions that you'll face in Luke Walker's investigative odyssey into the Australian wilds to exhume fact from the myths of Harold Lasseter's golden reef.
In a dehydrated daze, prospecting through the central Australian desert, a nineteen year old Harold Lasseter fell over a reef of gold before slipping into unconsciousness. Fast forward to 1931 after recounting that tale ad nauseum he finally caught the ear of a syndicate of investors who would sponsor a trek out to mine this reef. In the face of a totally hostile landscape, battling with the wisps of fleeting, distant memories Lasseter failed and was left to perish with an indigenous tribe and his name was slandered throughout the media. For the last fifty years his son Bob has been on a crusade to find his father's gold to clear his name. Documentary filmmaker Luke Walker, transfixed by the Lasseter riddle, sets out on a journey to help Bob find the gold and vindicate his father.
Walker's key is Harold Lasseter. The target of his investigation into the man is to contend with constant friction between the poles of who the public perceived Lasseter to be in the wake of his many failures and the totems of information and data that became the building blocks to this myth. Walker integrates a plethora of footage from past Lasseter based documentaries or investigative expeditions and it feels as if this is leaving no stone unturned. It's a roller-coaster that hits the heights of illuminating new evidence and the troughs of webs of disinformation and the infuriating gaps in records.
Lasseter's Bones lures you into the same spiral of frustration and despondency as Walker himself. It's a first person documentary at its core. Without Walker's clear affinity with the subject and passion for this story it would fall in a heap. At the beginning of his journey there's a youthful enthusiasm alongside the stoic, timeless determination of Bob that gets you going. You're almost hoping that with modern technology and a documentary team in toe, those former expedition issues will disappear. The team is no match for the barbarous Australian landscape, intent on pounding them into the red earth. Walker's several year investigation begins to take its toll. And yet with detour stacked upon roadblock Walker pushes you to the precipice of the truth.
Lassester's Bones is as much about the illumination of the myth surrounding the man as it is about man's desire to complete the incomplete and fulfil the unfulfilled. It's poetic, personal filmmaking.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Written and Directed by: Luke Walker