“This is the one,” say the breathless critics and industry lobbyists “that shows what we really can do.”
Samson and Delilah is the latest unfortunate to be tarred with that brush, although it was probably unavoidable given its Camera D’Or win at Cannes. And while it’s a good film, it’s far from the pinnacle of creative achievement.
Largely played as dumbshow, we track the movements of the eponymous young aboriginal couple through their awkward courtship, tribal excommunication, hopeless struggle to fit into a white world and something that might be redemption depending on how you choose to look at it.
As a movie it’s not dissimilar to Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, although here the sleepy town of Alice Springs is the unforgiving wilderness and the outback represents the comfort and safety of home.
The main difference for this film is the role played by the majority of those sitting in the audience. The impact of European culture on aboriginals is a central theme, both in terms of passive neglect and active exploitation.
It’s an important point to make, although it wasn’t entirely successful.
A pointed dig at the indigenous art industry for growing fat off the back of a starving community is justified, but one can’t help feeling the film-makers here are indulging in a similar sort of behaviour.
3.5 out of 5