Australian western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s, where justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self-defense and goes on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down.
From the same director
Bryan Brown (Sergeant Fletcher), Matt Day (Judge Taylor), Tremayne Doolan (Philomac), Trevon Doolan (Philomac), Anni Finsterer (Nell), Natassia Gorey Furber (Lizzie), Gibson John (Archie), Ewen Leslie (Harry March), Lachlan J. Modrzynski (Constable Campbell), Hamilton Morris (Sam Kelly), Sam Neill (Fred Smith), Sotiris Tzelios (Picture Show Man), Thomas M. Wright (Mick Kennedy)
Scott Otto Anderson (executive producer), Craig Deeker (executive producer), David Jowsey (producer), Christina Kennedy (executive producer), Trevor Kennedy (executive producer), Oliver Lawrance (executive producer), Andrew Mackie (executive producer), Richard Payten (executive producer), Greer Simpkin (producer)
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.
Fred Smith: We're all equal here. We're all equal in the eyes of the Lord.
The picture's director Warwick Thornton has said of this movie's filming locations and settings: "That landscape around Alice Springs is sacred. The MacDonnell Ranges are always in my mind from growing up there with my family. So, Sweet Country (2017) is a film about the land and our family, and what happened when the missionaries and pastoralists arrived."
5 wins & 13 nominations
Adelaide Film Festival • Almeria Western Film Festival • Asia Pacific Screen Awards • Camerimage • Gasparilla International Film Festival • Göteborg Film Festival • Indiewire Critics' Poll • Jerusalem Film Festival • London Film Festival • Luxembourg City Film Festival • Philadelphia Film Festival • Toronto International Film Festival • Valladolid International Film Festival • Venice Film Festival
Sweet Country (Spain) • Veszett vidék (Hungary) • Mila zemlja (Serbia) • Сладостный край (Russia)
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