Review: Sweet Country
Blu-ray & DVD: Sweet Country (2017)
Thematically similar to both the recently reviewed The Tracker and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Sweet Country once again highlights the mental and physical abuse of indigenous Australians at the hands of white oppressors with their over-inflated sense of self importance and egos so big that it’s no wonder that they had to move into the outback to accommodate them.
When Sam (Hamilton Morris), an indigenous Australian farmhand who works for Fred (Sam Neill), is sent to help Harry (Ewen Leslie), a new neighbour, to renovate his home and farmland, their relationship quickly descends into a violent and fatal shootout.
Forced to flee with his wife, and pursued by lawman Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown), Sam can only avoid capture for so long, before being charged with murder and given a death sentence.
With townsfolk baying for his blood, Sam’s only hope is to have a fair and just trial. But can this really happen in a town full of white people who have zero respect for ‘his kind’?
Sweet Country’s narrative is hard-hitting and plays out with with occasional brief ‘flash-forwards’, which give glimpses of what the future may have for certain characters. When, or even if, these may happen is left open-ended as the grim and gritty tale of Sam unfolds.
Superb performances across the entire cast elicit both empathy and borderline hatred for certain characters, while everything is played out across the wonderful Australian landscapes that give a calming golden glow as the underlying seeds of violence finally give fruition to a bloody conflict.
Sweet Country had me hooked from the very 1st minute until the closing credits finally scrolled offscreen.
Certainly not a ‘weekend afternoon viewing with the kids’, but most definitely a movie that will resonate with you long after Sam meets his fate…whatever that may be!
- Cast and crew interviews
- ‘Big World’ (from The Turning) directed by Warwick Thornton
- Behind the scenes
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