Samson & Delilah

November 18, 20108:30pm

Warwick Thornton’s compelling drama/romance of two Aboriginal teenagers concerns Samson (McNamara) and Delilah (Gibson) as they escape the despair and violence of a dead end shanty settlement in the middle of the Australian desert for a better life. The gruelling journey to Adelaide demonstrates that getting a break will not come easily. Shocking experiences verify that there is evil in the world, yet if they can see it there are flashes of hope and humanity too. With barely a word spoken by either protagonist for most of the film, the lean script requires the amateur actors to communicate by looks, body language and through songs which also mark many of the plot turns.

While some filmgoers have found the lack of dialogue tedious and see it as attempted artiness, others recognise that the lingering shots carry plot and character information and fit with the alienation and disconnect Samson and Delilah experience. In his first film writer/director Thornton delivers an important film for less than 1million. It explores the ongoing exploitation of the Aboriginal people, the discrimination they face and the youth issue of petrol sniffing successfully presenting these elements not as a political polemic but as a moving love story.

The director also composed the score, shot the film himself in 35 mm, and encouraged remarkable performances from McNamara and Gibson, counterpointing their silence with the role of the garrulous down and out Gonzo, played by his own brother, no stranger himself to homelessness and rehab. No doubt hard-hitting, critics have described the film as ultimately optimistic.

Beyond its undeniable worth as a piece of top-notch filmmaking, Samson and Delilah’s value also resides in its ability to share with a wide audience, and in a language we can all understand, a largely untold story steeped in the painful truth of this country’s bloody history. Matt Ravier, In Film Australia.

With Samson and Delilah, Warwick Thornton taps into the very essence of cinema the movie shows us a completely different world, yet manages to anchor it in something universal. Its human experience distilled, so perfectly. Its absolutely stunning. James Benefield, eyeforfilm.co.uk

By turns witty, moving and quietly painful, Samson Delilah is a great example of cinemas ability to cast off its dependency on the spoken word. Jonathon Romney, The Independent.


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Film Information
Release year: 2009
Running time:   100 mins
Directed by: Warwick Thornton
Language: English
Country: Australia
Classification: 15
Genre: Drama, Romance
Starring: Rowan McNamara,
Marissa Gibson,
Scott Thornton,
Mitjili Napanangka Gibson
Awards:

Golden Camera Award at Cannes,
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Film

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