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Sweet Country (2017)

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Australian western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s, where justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self-defense and goes on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down.

Director:

Warwick Thornton
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1,839 ( 37)
8 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bryan Brown ... Sergeant Fletcher
Luka Magdeline Cole Luka Magdeline Cole ... Olive
Shanika Cole Shanika Cole ... Lucy
Matt Day ... Judge Taylor
Tremayne Doolan Tremayne Doolan ... Philomac
Trevon Doolan Trevon Doolan ... Philomac
Anni Finsterer ... Nell
Natassia Gorey Furber ... Lizzie
Gibson John Gibson John ... Archie
Ewen Leslie ... Harry March
Lachlan J. Modrzynski Lachlan J. Modrzynski ... Constable Campbell
Hamilton Morris ... Sam Kelly
Sam Neill ... Fred Smith
Sotiris Tzelios ... Picture Show Man
Thomas M. Wright ... Mick Kennedy
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Storyline

Australian western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s, where justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self-defense and goes on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Inspired by true events See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, bloody images and for language throughout | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Aboriginal

Release Date:

6 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dulce país See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$95,609, 3 June 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

D-Cinema 48kHz 5.1

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film won two awards at the 2017 Venice Film Festival - the Special Jury Prize and the Premio Bisato d'Oro award, the latter of which is the Venice Critic's Award for Best Film at the festival. Panelists on the Venice Jury included [in alphabetical order by surname]: Annette Bening, Ildikó Enyedi, Michel Franco, Rebecca Hall, Anna Mouglalis, David Stratton, Jasmine Trinca, Edgar Wright and Yonfan. See more »

Quotes

Fred Smith: We're all equal here. We're all equal in the eyes of the Lord.
See more »

Connections

Features The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Built with imposing emotional depth, Sweet Country is an angry discourse on racism.
9 December 2017 | by LloydBayerSee all my reviews

In the ever widening divide between colour, cast and creed, director Warwick Thornton takes the traditional setting of a frontier western and builds the foundation for a brutal and angry discourse on racism and savagery. But unlike a typical Hollywood western, the savages here are not the indigenous people who fight for the preservation of their ancestral land-dwelling. Set in 1920s Australia, and just a few decades after independence, Sweet Country seeks to echo the haunting wails of the founding fathers of modern Australia.

Both haunting and tragic, the film is politically provocative and poetically proverbial in narrating a dark era when Australia's justice system was still in its infancy. On the run for killing a cruel white settler, Aboriginal Sam (Hamilton Morris) and his wife have little chance of escaping the law, especially during a time when lawmakers were the laugh of the town. It doesn't help either that a frontier soldier (played by Bryan Brown) is out for blood as a self- proclaimed lawman. Sam's only aid is his charitable employer and preacher Fred (Sam Neil). But there's something about the whole incident that Sam and his wife have kept to themselves and the only way for any sliver of redemption is to get caught.

Although deliberately paced (the very first scene is a symbolic pot on the boil), the final showdown is suspenseful but also gut- wrenching and ultimately heartbreaking. An Aboriginal himself, Thornton (who is also the cinematographer) uses gorgeous vistas of the Australian landscape to juxtapose the ugly nature of this story with the sheer beauty of his land. And amongst all this beauty there is suffering, trauma, barbaric colonialism, and absolute disregard for human life. As impressive as the visuals is Thornton's meticulously composed storytelling and it's a power structure with imposing breath, width and emotional depth.


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