Himalaya review

On the surface, this is that least-guaranteed of audience-snatchers, a subtitled drama about Tibetan yak herders. But don't worry - - because if you scratch a little deeper, what you've actually got here is a Western.

Himalaya centres around a cattle drive across scenery that John Ford would've killed for. All your staple oater characters are here: grizzled old patriarch (village headman Tinle), ambitious upstart (young warrior Karma, who Tinle blames for the death of his eldest son) and naïve easterner (Tinle's youngest son who left the village to become a monk). There's even a hero-worshipping cute kid straight out of Shane.

Director Eric Valli neatly blends drama with humour and some real, sweaty-palmed excitement. The result won't drag in the big crowds, but will offer pleasant expectation-busting entertainment for any moviegoer who's prepared to take a risk.

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