Set in the majestic Australian outback, director Warwick Thornton's (Samson and Delilah) slow-burn indigenous Western follows an Aboriginal ranch hand struggling against the bitterly divided frontier society that has forced him to go on the run after a violent act of self-defense.
"Though set in 1920s Australia, the tale has a moral force beyond time and place." Alan Zilberman - The Washington Post
As abundant and persistent as the Western genre has been over the years, few Western narratives have critically examined the mistreatment of indigenous peoples by colonizers. Even fewer have been told from an indigenous character's perspective. Enter Sweet Country—a harsh, socially conscious Western set in the Australian outback circa 1929. Sam (Hamilton Morris) is a middle-aged Aboriginal farmhand that is sent by his boss Fred (Sam Neill) to help bitter World War I veteran Harry (Ewen Leslie) renovate his cattle yards. However, Harry's hateful view of Aboriginals causes their relationship to deteriorate. A fight breaks out and Sam kills Harry in self-defense. After Sam goes on the run with his wife, an all-white posse led by Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) attempts to bring the couple to justice. Assuming a spare, deliberate chase movie structure, Sweet Country successfully marries the characters and scenarios found in classic Westerns with culturally specific grounding in Australian history, politics, and racial tension. Boasting affecting performances (particularly from its Aboriginal non-actors) and hypnotic images of the Outback's rugged terrain, Warwick Thornton's film thoughtfully explores the unethical treatment of Australia's Aboriginal population.
Born in Alice Springs, Australia, Warwick Thorton is an acclaimed Indigenous director, photographer, screenwriter, and cinematographer. His first short films gained immediate attention by shedding light on underrepresented Indigenous communities, which continued to be his signature on his award-winning feature films in later years that elevated his work internationally.
Sponsored by KING 5, Red Element Studios
- Director: Warwick Thornton
- Principal Cast: Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Hamilton Morris, Thomas M. Wright, Ewen Leslie
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: Australia
- Year: 2017
- Running Time: 112 minutes
- Producer: David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin
- Screenplay: Steven McGregor, David Tranter
- Cinematographers: Warwick Thornton, Dylan River
- Editors: Nick Meyers
- Music: Damien Lane
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Toronto International Film Festival 2017 (Toronto Platform Prize)
- Filmography: We Don’t Need a Map (2017); The Darkside (2013); Samson & Delilah (2009)
- Language: English
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
- International Sales: Memento Films International