By Agatha Christie standards, the real-life murder at Larrimah deserved a quick solution. After all, the outpost with its population of eleven turned ten offered a small number of suspects. But as documentary filmmaker Thomas Tancred shows in Last Stop at Larrimah, little proves simple. Suspicious meat pies and a crocodile spice up the mix of an already flavorful combination for a mystery whose intrigue includes its setting at a quirky road stop in the hinterlands of Australia’s Northern Territory. Inadvertently aiding the filmmaker, the community first hit Australia’s radar through a television news station’s casual feature that includes the victim before he went missing. This made it easier for the station to turn Paddy Moriarity’s 2017 disappearance into a story with national attention, eventually bringing in filmmaker Tancred and giving a wide selection of archival footage to join interviews he conducted with key suspects and detectives. While solving the case always matters in whodunnits, Tancred sees more intrigue in the recipe of place and people, a non-mainstream blend that ends up reflecting basic human frailties found almost anywhere. Initially presenting Moriarity as a likeable, care-free guy, Tancred’s footage eventually shows that a simple mix of eleven people feels fraught as any region where residents decide to align with one group or another. Feuds fan ferociously, aided by the harshness of Larrimah’s rugged wildness.
Seeming to shake his head at the craziness of so big a mess in such a small place, Tancred adds light and ironic touches to the mix, even bringing in that meat pie song from the play Sweeny Todd. Tancred find plenty to bite into with Last Stop at Larrimah.