White Australians and Aborigines under the same roof: it seems genuinely possible at the start of Sweet Country. In 1929, Sam and his wife Lizzie live with and work for a friendly farmer, until he – with the best intentions – ‘lends them’ to a former soldier who has zero respect for people of a different color. Sam is forced to kill him, and because vigilante justice seems more likely than an honest trial, he and Lizzie flee into the outback.
This might sound like the start of a tense chase thriller, but director and cameraman Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah) creates something else entirely. A stylized, beautifully shot Western that gives the characters their own personal histories using soundless, non-chronological flashbacks and flash-forwards. Effectively told, leaving plenty of room for reflection on a society in which justice loses out to mutual distrust.