SWEET COUNTRY (MA15+)
This world-class period drama is clearly the best Australian movie of 2018. If it doesn’t dominate at the AACTA Awards next month — for which Sweet Country drew 10 nominations — then there is something very wrong with the system. A claustrophobically compelling tale unfolds across wide open scrublands on the wrong side of Alice Springs. The year is 1929, and the soft-spoken Aboriginal stockman is the most wanted man in the NT. As a blackfella who has shot dead a whitefella, Sam has no choice but to make a run for it. No one cares that psychopathic homesteader Harry March (Ewen Leslie), was about to kill him. Or that March had recently raped Sam’s wife. Justice, when it comes, will possibly only be for show but certainly for keeps. Not a frame, sound, look or gesture is out of place in this brutal, beautiful and bitterly insightful experience. Mark that down as two feature films for two undisputed masterpieces on the CV of Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah). Co-stars Bryan Brown, Sam Neill.