Movies

Sweet Country

Synopsis

Sweet Country is set in 1929 in the outback of the Northern Territory. Sam is an Aboriginal middle-aged stockman who works for a kind preacher, Fred Smith.

Harry Marsh, returning from the Western Front, is appointed as the new station operator, and Sam is sent out with his wife and daughter to help renovate the outpost.

But Harry turns out to be an ill-tempered and bitter man, and his relationship with Sam quickly escalates. It culminates in a violent shootout, where Sam kills Harry in an attempt to save his own life.

As a result, Sam becomes a wanted criminal for the murder of a white man, and is forced to flee with his pregnant wife into the deadly outback. A hunting party led by Sergeant Fletcher is formed to track him down, but Sam eludes them as he is a clever man and an expert bushman.

Eventually for the health of his pregnant wife, Sam gives himself up. A trial is held in town and when the truth comes out in the courtroom about Sam's actions, he is acquitted. Justice has been served. Sam sets off on his journey home, but soon after leaving town, a shot rings out and Justice is crushed…

Sweet Country is the Northern Territory in the frontier era of the 1920s and the tale of brutality and injustice in an indifferent country.

[Sweet Country] has now confirmed him [Warwick Thornton] as one of the country's finest filmmakers. — Sydney Morning Herald

Sweet Country represents for us a chance to be involved in an Australian frontier drama told from an authentic Aboriginal perspective. — Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous, Screen Australia

Trailer

Details

Cast
Tremayne and Trevon Doolan - young boy Philomac
Hamilton Morris - Aboriginal stockman Sam Kelly
Natasia Gorie-Furber - his wife
Ewen Leslie - white settler
Sam Neill
Bryan Brown
Thomas M. Wright
Gibson John
Ewen Leslie
Anni Finsterer
Matt Day
Ningali Lawford-Wolf
Release dates
6 September 2017 – Premiere at the Venice Film Festival
25 January 2018 - Australia
Awards
Venice Film Festival 2017 – Grand Jury Prize Toronto International Film Festival 2017 – Platform Prize Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2017 – Best Movie Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards 2018 – Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Editing
Rating
M - Mature
Distributor
Transmission Films (Australia)
Soundtrack
n/a
Notes

Sweet Country was filmed at Ooraminna Station, about 40 kilometres south of Alice Springs, NT.

The film has no score and no special camera perspectives. "I don't like to use director tricks to emotionally blackmail audiences," says Thornton. "I don't want to put music in just so 'you have to feel sad now because it's a sad scene'. You make your own mind up; you're intelligent." [1]

Sweet Country made A$2 million in Australia.

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References

View article sources (1)

[1] Director Warwick Thornton's film Sweet Country is a bold new take on the Western', The Age 12/1/2018

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Sweet Country, <https://www.creativespirits.info/resources/movies/sweet-country>, retrieved 12 December 2019

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