Film

An Aus­tralian western with Sam Neill is a sear­ing master­piece.

New Zealand Listener - - CONTENTS -

Sweet Coun­try, A Quiet Place, Walk­ing Out

di­rected by War­wick Thorn­ton

The sec­ond nar­ra­tive fea­ture by the man who made Sam­son & Delilah has some no­ble an­ces­tors. Like Rolf de Heer’s Tracker in 2002 and Fred Schep­isi’s ground­break­ing The Chant of Jim­mie Black­smith in 1978, it con­cerns the hunt for an abo­rig­i­nal mur­der sus­pect.

In this age, it may be bet­ter re­ceived than those two, not least be­cause they were made by white men. And it de­serves to: its sto­ry­telling, by turns lyrical and blunt, achieves an al­most mirac­u­lous syn­the­sis of the mythic and the downto-earth; its cin­e­matog­ra­phy – War­wick Thorn­ton’s own – is spell­bind­ing; and although it oc­cu­pies a spe­cific time and place, it never al­lows the viewer the com­fort of con­sign­ing its in­jus­tices to his­tory.

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