Sweet Country is a fugitive drama set in Australia’s Northern Territory. Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah) directs this compelling period drama set in 1929 that has contemporary relevance for its depiction of the rule of law run amok.
Sam, a middle-aged Aboriginal man, works for a preacher in the outback of Australia’s Northern Territory. When Harry, a bitter war veteran, moves into a neighbouring outpost, the preacher sends Sam and his family to help Harry renovate his cattle yards.
But Sam’s relationship with the cruel and ill-tempered Harry quickly deteriorates, culminating in a violent shootout in which Sam kills Harry in self-defence.
As a result, Sam becomes a wanted criminal for the murder of a white man, and is forced to flee with his wife across the deadly outback, through glorious but harsh desert country.
A hunting party led by the local lawman Sergeant Fletcher is formed to track Sam down. But as the true details of the killing start to surface, the community begins to question whether justice is really being served.
Inspired by real events and featuring a cast of non-professional Aboriginal actors, this film has a rare authenticity.
Sam Neill plays Fred Smith, a preacher whose land is worked by Aboriginal stockman Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris).
With clipped dialogue, beautiful cinematography of the Northern Territory and impressive performances, this Western brings all the talent that won Warwick Thornton the Camera d’Or for his debut.
Run Time: 113 mins
Brutal Australian western soars with Biblical starkness
READ the Guardian’s 5 star review
Warwick Thornton on Sweet Country
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“A stark, shocking movie, superbly shot by Thornton”
Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian