Sweet Country
01:50:00
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Sweet Country (2017)

Sweet Country
7.3/10 by 3 users
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A period western set on the Northern Territory frontier where justice itself is put on trial.

Release Date:August 1, 2017
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:14A
Genres:History, Western
Production Company:Bunya Productions
Production Countries:Australia
Director:Warwick Thornton
Writers:,
Casts:, , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:australia, australian aborigine, 1920s
  • Built with imposing emotional depth, Sweet Country is an angry discourse on racism.
    December 9, 2017

    In the ever widening divide between colour, cast and creed, director Warwick Thornton takes the traditional setting of a frontier western and builds the foundation for a brutal and angry discourse on racism and savagery. But unlike a typical Hollywood western, the savages here are not the indigenous people who fight for the preservation of their ancestral land-dwelling. Set in 1920s Australia, and just a few decades after independence, Sweet Country seeks to echo the haunting wails of the founding fathers of modern Australia.

    Both haunting and tragic, the film is politically provocative and poetically proverbial in narrating a dark era when Australia's justice system was still in its infancy. On the run for killing a cruel white settler, Aboriginal Sam (Hamilton Morris) and his wife have little chance of escaping the law, especially during a time when lawmakers were the laugh of the town. It doesn't help either that a frontier soldier (played by Bryan Brown) is out for blood as a self- proclaimed lawman. Sam's only aid is his charitable employer and preacher Fred (Sam Neil). But there's something about the whole incident that Sam and his wife have kept to themselves and the only way for any sliver of redemption is to get caught.

    Although deliberately paced (the very first scene is a symbolic pot on the boil), the final showdown is suspenseful but also gut- wrenching and ultimately heartbreaking. An Aboriginal himself, Thornton (who is also the cinematographer) uses gorgeous vistas of the Australian landscape to juxtapose the ugly nature of this story with the sheer beauty of his land. And amongst all this beauty there is suffering, trauma, barbaric colonialism, and absolute disregard for human life. As impressive as the visuals is Thornton's meticulously composed storytelling and it's a power structure with imposing breath, width and emotional depth.