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REVIEW: Who is the Cleverman?

ReviewSteve Molk

In the near future Australia a new Indigenous mob is discovered, one almost as old as the country itself - the Hairypeople. Amongst them exists a leader - a CLEVERMAN - who will ultimately protect them from enemies within and beyond this realm.

These 'Hairies' exist with special powers and obvious hair all over and have been determined to be a threat to 'normal' Australians, and so are corralled in The Zone (a disused railway station) where Waruu West (Rob Collins) seeks to offer inspiration, guidance and leadership to both the Hairies and the Indigenous that live within the confines that are harshly determined and controlled by the oppressive Containment Authority.

By comparison Waruu's younger brother Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) lives a selfish life, in part due to bearing the blame for his father's death. His life is pretty straight forward until he is gifted the powers of the Cleverman.

The one responsible for connecting the old world and the new.
The one who can bring peace to all peoples.
The only one who can protect them from the danger that hunts them all.

It's a rare series that is as demanding as this and yet delivers as consistently across each episode. It's just as rare to find such a completely developed world supporting the narrative and supporting it as the story drives forward so fiercely. Congratulations to Rosemary Blight, Angela Littlejohn, Ryan Griffen and Lauren Edwards for developing a truly incredible series.

Also credit to Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell for their deft direction and touch in bringing this dynamic allegory to vivid life.

Page-Lochard and Collins both offer great performances, which only improve when these brothers irritate and sharpen against each other. The entire cast across the board - including Tasma Walton, Tyson Towney, Tony Briggs, Deborah Mailman, Ryan Corr - all draw together to weave the layers that make Cleverman just so damn compelling.

From the stunning visuals to the powerful performances this series assaults the senses and our challenges perceptions of the unknown. Cleverman is hard, sharp and addictive drama, again proving that we have some of the best actors, writers, producers, directors and production teams in the world.

Cleverman (6 episodes) - starts Thu 02/06 9:30pm ABC.