Filled with brusque tenderness and dusty beauty, director Warwick Thornton’s first feature (Camera D’Or winner at Cannes last year) is a fine and moving example of outback neorealism.
Tracing the near-wordless romance of two troubled Aboriginal teenagers, it’s filled with startling, incongruously lovely images: the austere bush landscapes and daring, jarring sound design are as eloquent as its lovers are tongue-tied.
Sensitive, naturalistic performances also pull you in tightly, particularly non-pro Rowan McNamara’s raw, impulsive Samson, pitch-perfect against Marissa Gibson’s stoical, life-whacked Delilah.
Thornton, himself an indigenous Australian, presents the poverty, petrol huffing and near-hopelessness of their lives with watchful clarity, but also humour and compassion.
There’s a bumpy, wholly unexpected dip into melodrama along the way, but the film’s commitment to its characters, and its sheer emotional heft, carries you along regardless.