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Sweet Country 123 Full Movie Plot & Release Dates.
“We’re all equal in the eyes of the Lord,” says a benevolent rural preacher in the opening scenes of “Sweet Country” — but the Lord’s eyes are evidently cast far from Alice Springs, the ravishing but spiritually soured landscape against which Warwick Thornton’s graceful, soulful, quietly incendiary Outback western unfolds. Marked by the same poise and care with which Thornton’s 2009 debut “Samson and Delilah” exposed the present-day marginalization of Australia’s Aboriginal community, the director-cinematographer’s second purely narrative feature probes the same social injustice in the bitterly divided frontier society of 1929, where one black man’s necessarily violent act of self-defense brings the white population’s most toxic racist dogma to the fore. The spare, classical chase drama that ensues is seeded with barbed observations on colonialism, cultural erasure and rough justice, kept poetically succinct by Thornton’s lithe, soaring visual storytelling.
Stately but universally accessible in its deft genre touches and border-crossing political import, the mostly English-language “Sweet Country” has the makings of an international arthouse talking point, sure to reach far more eyeballs than Thornton’s already healthily distributed debut. Sales should be lively following the film’s Venice competition premiere, followed by a prestigious Toronto Platform berth. Sam Neill’s presence in a critical role should be a selling point both domestically and abroad, though this is a true ensemble piece, generously allocated among its fine actors. Indeed, much of the tension and structural surprise in this beautifully paced film derives from its many, unexpected switches and reversals of character emphasis — which drive home the sense of a story being told about a far larger community than the one shown on screen, without skimping on individual human detail.
It’s the landscape, however, that first strikes you, more than any one inhabitant thereof. Scorched but rustling with life, painted with a rough-bristled brush in streaks of ochre, its vast expanse means different things to different people. To white settlers like Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown), it’s an unspoiled space of opportunity and potential expansion; the Aboriginal locals who work as their servants and stockmen, however, see first and foremost the land that has already been over-developed in their eyes, those vast stretches taken from them, built up and sullied. Thornton’s muscularly panoramic cinematography doesn’t resist the natural splendor of his own native Northern Territory, with its mustardy savannas, glittering salt flats and solemn rows of bluegums bent like gothic arches. He even takes time to drink in a couple of streaky cerise sunrises, knowing full well that such lush pictorialism only shows up the ugliness of human acts committed in the foreground.
Original title Sweet Country
IMDb Rating 6.8 4,439 votes
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