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Sweet Country

This western from Australia is set in the Australian outback and concerns the story of Sam, an aboriginal who lives with his wife and niece. He is forced to go on the run when he shoots a white man in self-defense. This is a very interesting and well-told story about race and racism in Australia through Sam’s journey as well as the man who hunts him down. The cinematography of the outback is beautiful, and the acting is first-rate by all. One of the fascinating aspects of the film is its narrative structure. Periodically, there are brief “flash-forwards” of the characters and what happens to them; what is interesting is the way the director uses those to get us to think that we know what is going to happen and then what actually happens is many times unexpected. It reminded me of how the director manipulated the narrative in “Run Lola Run”, but the futures were much clearer in that film. Big thumbs up from me for a film that shows the clear parallels between US and Australian brands of racism. I also did some checking and noted that the filmmaker, Warwick Thornton, is an indigenous Australian who has a couple of other films that I hope to see.

About Gary Burkholder

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