Samson & Delilah Review

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Alone, adrift and unwanted in the Central Australian bush, aboriginal couple Samson and Delilah set off towards Alice Springs and a new life.


With its sparse Warlpiri dialogue and unflinching mix of humour and grim realism, this is a damning indictment of the treatment of Aboriginal peoples by the Australian authorities. Warwick Thornton perhaps piles too many miseries upon teenagers Marissa Gibson and mute Rowan McNamara after they fetch up in Alice Springs after the death of Gibson’s grandmother. Moreover, the climactic shift from despair while sleeping rough to tentative optimism in a cosy shack feels contrived.

But Thornton handles his own cinematography with the same aplomb he brings to pacing the drama, while coaxing performances of touching spirit and vulnerability out of his exceptional non-professional leads.

Tender and beautifully acted, it's a unflinchingly bleak glimpse of life on Australia's margins.