Comments on Sweet Country, the fourteenth film of the 50th Season, shown on 17th April 2019.
Members’ rating 72.2%: A – 24 ; B – 23 ; C – 18 ; D – 7 ; E – 0. 72 votes from 99 members signing in.
A – (excellent) Best film of the season. Stunning. Best film this season by a Sweet Country mile! Super characters. Great choice. Bloody brilliant: The cinematography was excellent and the slow pace was spot on: Thought the acting was superb and I didn’t recognise Sam Neill until half way through. Taut and atmospheric : Tt gripped me throughout : The cinematography was beautiful. I appreciated the slightly longer time over the credits before the lights went up and noticed very few people moved early: The credits and end music are an important part of any film. Compare and contrast the honesty and integrity against the selfish brutality of those who think they are “better” than other humans: Beautifully shot with no mawkish sentimentality. It was a tough film to watch but very effective – it conveyed the brutality of the stark landscape and of the people. A gruelling portrait of the frontier, but achingly and unflinchingly true: The silences and lack of music heightened the emotion. A brutal but very interesting movie: Frontier life was harsh and the movie showed it that way. Great storytelling, especially the use of flashbacks and the glimpses of inevitable future. Tense, beautifully shot, I was engrossed to the final amazing rainbow. Slow but gripping. Gripped from beginning to end. Fascinating – more like the 1820s than the 1920s: Gripping stuff.
The prejudice and injustice that the Aboriginal people suffered at the hands of colonialism is an uncomfortable experience – sadly this racism still continues today: Slow-moving, beautifully crafted movie covering an extremely difficult subject: The rainbow effect was quite startling.
B – (very good) Amazing photography and acting: A somewhat predictable outcome. Beautifully photographed and profoundly sad: We have so much to learn still today. Good film showing with real dramatic force the racist tensions that built Australia. A beautiful, remorselessly grim tale. Nice to see Sam Neill again: It got the silence of the desert: Novel idea to have their thoughts portrayed. Modern day Harper Lee. A bit slow in places and difficult to make out the dialogue, but overall very good: Very atmospheric, well shot and composed and Sam Neill was superb. Great acting, especially from the Aboriginal people – a sad reflection on the “lucky country”. Moving film – could have been an “A” rating if not so slow. A bit slow, but gave a searing insight into early days of Australia, but hints of post WW1 PTSD. Effective and powerful, maybe a bit too long, a lot of the flash-forwards and flashbacks were a bit pointless. Riveting, if a little slow. Excellent acting, interesting story. Dry, well acted, rather depressing, lovely views. A fine portrayal of a racist time in Australia’s history: Well made and well acted. A story of damaged individuals returning to a lawless land and taking out their frustrations on the natives of the country, ending in hope at the end of the rainbow. Absorbing film: Despite some mostly damaged individuals, right eventually triumphed, but then was sadly thwarted. Well made with some very good photography: straightforward tale with a high moral tone. Very atmospheric and great photography.
C – (good) There was nothing sweet about this film: raw, aggressive and unnecessarily violent: not a pleasant viewing experience. Slow and heavy-handed. Slow, but in a good way: (But hasn’t Australian cinema got any other actors than Bryan Brown and Sam Neill?) Very gritty and grim. Slow simmer – and then dramatic end. NW Australia looked great. Amazing cinematography, hard to watch at times (but is that a good thing?) Brutal story but kept me watching: Unexpected end. Few words worked well – shocking finish: Racism hard to accept: wonderful scenery and beautiful rainbow. Slow, confusing start and felt style trumped substance, but last quarter of film was powerful and heartbreaking: Great performances from “Sam Kelly”: Nice hats. A brutal portrayal of life and racism in Australia’s outback. No withers left un-wrung: Too slow overall Brilliant acting, particularly the main character, Sam: A hard-hitting film dealing with difficult subjects. Was Sweet Country a proper Western? Unfortunately predictable ending: Interesting but…
D – (fair) Sadly I don’t think things have changed very much: There is still so much prejudice in the world. Here we go again – aggressive, , mean, physically punishing: What is wrong with this film society choosing these repulsive films? The flash-forwards were an interesting addition, otherwise a little slow. Ponderous: Good photography but too slow. Good performances, fantastic scenery and raised important issues, but I just didn’t like it: Too slow, but too violent – not my cup of tea I’m afraid. Not such a sweet film! Scenery and rainbow were the best bits – awful ending after justice was done.
E – (poor) (no comments/ratings)