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Charlie's Country

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Australia · 2013
1h 48m
Director Rolf de Heer
Starring David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr, Luke Ford, Jennifer Budukpuduk Gaykamangu
Genre Drama

Charlie is an aboriginal man feeling out of place in a changing Australia he no longer recognizes. The intervention of white people in his community frustrates him, causing him to ditch his community for the wilderness to live a more traditional way of life. This sets off a chain reaction of difficulties.

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Slant Magazine by

It finally offers little more than a moderately engaging slice of contemporary aboriginal life that mostly fails to dig beneath the surface of this underrepresented world.


Village Voice by Danny King

Whether laughing, crying, mumbling to himself, or projecting a valiant stoicism, Gulpilil — beneath a white beard and a blanket of shaggy hair — commands the screen in close-ups liable to run for minutes at a time.


The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

Equal parts ethnographic and poetic, this eloquent drama's stirring soulfulness is laced with the sorrow of cultural dislocation but also with lovely ripples of humor and even joy.


Variety by Eddie Cockrell

Charlie is the vessel through which de Heer navigates these turbulent waters, and the script was developed during sessions when the actor would throw out ideas and the director would structure the results. It is to both men’s credit that amid the suffering, there’s a ray of hope for Charlie in the end.


The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Part of the movie’s mischievous charm lies in De Heer and cinematographer Ian Jones’ sophisticated use of Steadicam, which moves almost exclusively with Charlie, often seemingly in a struggle to keep up with his brisk, determined walk.


CineVue by John Bleasdale

Most powerful of all is Gulpilil's performance. His presence at the centre of the film is one of anger, humour and ultimately resilience.


The New York Times by Nicolas Rapold

Unlike those in many art-house releases, this wilderness is not an abstract arena for playing out alienation but a living, breathing land with deep, abiding significance for Charlie and his fellow Aborigines cast adrift.


Boston Globe by Peter Keough

This walkabout ends less dramatically and not as tragically as the one in Roeg’s film, but perhaps with a greater poignancy. And Gulpilil, four decades of hard living later, is as magnificent as ever.


The Dissolve by Tasha Robinson

Charlie’s Country is sincere at the expense of nuance, and tragic at the expense of variety: It tends to hit its points over and over, with blunt, on-the-nose sincerity. But Gulpilil’s performance keeps it from crossing too far into hand-wringing preachiness.

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