Samson & Delilah
Review by Jack Foley
WARWICK Thornton’s raw, honest insight into the life and trials of two Aboriginal teens in middle Australia marks the arrival of a significant new filmmaking talent.
Thornton wrote and directed the movie based on many of his own experiences and observations of growing up in Alice Springs, and thereby offers an authentic insight into the difficult, and often disheartening, life of its Aboriginal communities.
His film follows Marissa Gibson’s Delilah and Rowan McNamara’s Samson as they depart their community following the death of Delilah’s grandmother and try to make a new life for themselves in Alice Springs.
Disregarded and forced to live on the streets, however, they struggle to survive and understand their feelings towards each other.
In many ways, Thornton’s movie plays best to the arthouse crowd, given its meandering pace and sparse Warpiri dialogue. There are long periods of time when nothing much happens… which are often followed by more trauma and suffering for its principal characters.
Viewers may also require a lot of patience with Samson, whose addictions and lazy attitude often compound the couple’s dilemma.
But as an observational piece that paints a raw, unsentimental picture, Samson & Delilah demands to be seen for the way in which it shines a global light onto a forgotten Australian problem.
A strong conclusion also makes the journey worth sticking with.
Thornton, for his part, vividly captures the Australian environment and is confident enough to allow his untrained actors to take centre stage… often leaving them to express more silently than through cliched dialogue.
The end result is a film that lingers for some time afterwards.
Running time: 100mins
UK DVD and Blu-ray Release: June 21, 2010
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Warwick Thornton interview