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  1. Published on: 09/07/2018 08:05 AMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: When an aged Aborigines farmer shoots a white man in self-defense, a posse gathers to hunt him down.

    It's always fun going into a film knowing virtually nothing about what you're going to see. From what I had seen or heard about it, I was expecting a Western.

    What I got in the end certainly had a Western vibe. But instead, we had a crime drama in the Australian outback in the early 20th century.

    I noticed the deliberate slow pacing involved and I was fearful that it would take me out of it as this style does not always win me over. Thankfully, the execution of the content involved was gripping me. The story had many powerful moments and was brewing up nicely.

    By the end of it, I felt pretty satisfied and have already thought about it long after seeing it.

    The performances were all highly memorable. None of them felt like stand-outs. But like ingredients, they all worked when they came together.

    You could feel the struggle and sympathy for Hamilton Morris and Gibson John's characters, Sam Neill shows us he's still got many more memorable roles in him, Ewen Leslie just oozed evil and was top notch throughout, Bryan Brown was like an aggressive version of Tommy Lee Jones' character from No Country For Old Men and Matt Day contributed well to the strong final act.

    The cinematography by Dylan River and Warwick Thornton also needs to be commended. It's wide camera angles gives the film such striking imagery that makes the environment an extra character. You felt transported and could feel the punishing heat that the Australian deserts have.

    Also, I noticed a nice little nod to a 1906 film called 'The Story Of The Kelly Gang'. For those of you that don't know, this is first ever feature film ever made. When you read about its release, the historical accuracy is pretty solid within this story.

    I thought early on that the pacing would bore me and just take me out of the film. But that did not end up being a negative of the film.

    However, I wasn't too much into the flashback moments. That for me was a bad choice by the director. I might have expected a few uses of it. But it certainly was overly-used and became pointless at times.

    While it was a slow-burner, it's strong construction, powerful imagery and impactful situations made this good viewing.

    The themes reminded me a lot of Wind River, and like said comparison, the environment also felt like a character in itself. It's message was in the right place and it will speak to a lot of people as it especially covers topics that I feel will be continuous, especially in Australia.

    All of that as well as the great performances and top character development made this a powerful watch. I began being unsure about it due to its slow pacing. But it managed to hook me in and I became quite engrossed with every bit of its creation. A nice surprise.

    Rating: 8/10
     

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