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Sweet Country

Sam Kelly, a middle-aged Aboriginal man, works the land of a kind preacher, Fred Smith, in Australia's Northern Territory. After an ill-tempered bully arrives in town and Kelly kills him in self-defence, he and his wife go on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

83

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

Poetically directed by Warwick Thornton, whose Samson & Delilah also threw a spotlight over aboriginal characters, Sweet Country has a shaggy, digressive eccentricity common to Ozploitation cinema, not to mention a humane understanding of its characters.
83

The Film Stage by Christopher Schobert

Thornton establishes himself as a director to watch, and with fine performances from Neill, Brown, Gorey-Furber, and, especially, Hamilton Morris, also reveals an ability to make an epic tale feel deeply personal.
75

Slant Magazine by Derek Smith

The film is a meticulous examination of how the dehumanization of Australia's native population bred an environment of cyclical violence and mistrust.
80

Empire by Ian Freer

Sweet Country is epic and personal, daring to tell a simple story in a challenging, arresting way. It’s a demanding two hours but leavened by great performances, especially from newcomer Hamilton Morris.
91

The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

Sweet Country is unmistakably a western in iconography and spare, taciturn tone, but it is also an incendiary slave narrative, in which the poetry of the filmmaking can barely contain a simmering fury and disgust at this most shameful of human institutions.
80

CineVue by John Bleasdale

Sweet Country is a hoarsely angry film, a powerful denunciation of the racism and violence on which modern Australia was eventually founded.
100

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Kate Taylor

The story is both fresh and archetypal; the landscape both hard and delicate – and beautifully observed. Memories and premonitions are intriguingly inserted into the action and the performances...are note perfect.
100

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

This is fiercely powerful storytelling, simple and muscular in one way, but also conveying nuance and sophistication in its depiction of character.
100

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

Sweet Country is tough, spare and lyrical right down to the bone.... It is also a work of moral conscience that rules out easy answers, with acridly funny moments of black comedy and a sense of awesome natural spectacle that is inseparable from its dramatic impact. It has a power that makes the cinema shake.

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