• Samson and Delilah, 2009, Warwick Thornton, feature. (AAP Images)Source: AAP Images
Warwick Thornton's 2009 debut feature film Samson and Delilah, received critical acclaim both here and overseas and is an ever important, raw, honest and heartbreaking look at life and love between two 14-year-olds growing up in a remote outback Aboriginal community.
Emily Nicol

27 Jul 2017 - 8:45 PM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2017 - 7:39 AM

From the first frame, Thornton takes us swiftly in to the lives of the two main characters where substance abuse, violence and division within family are rife; the destructive result of a collision of old and new.

At times, this is not a particularly easy film to watch, though beautifully shot with handheld Panavision camera- the events that surround the awkward courtship and connection between Samson & Delilah, move from one dark place to another.


What is captivating is the chemistry and the brilliant performance from the two leads, both  first time actors, bringing to life, through very sparse dialogue a love story that unfolds slowly, quietly and seemingly unwittingly, on the part of Delilah at least.

I think it really soars and I think every Australian should see this film -  David Stratton

Thornton has said of the work that he set out initially simply to create a work that mob would be proud of and that was a ‘survival love story’ first and foremost. What he uncovers is a much bigger dialogue and the tragic consequences of the decimation of culture is inescapable. 

Though critically acclaimed, winning the Caméra d'Or ('Gold Camera Award' for best first feature film) at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival among other awards, the film did divide public viewers who were perhaps confronted with the reality of what life is like for some that dwell on the edges of society and especially within impoverished Aboriginal communities.

Reviewed glowingly by David Stratton, alongside Margaret Pomeranz for The Movie Show on it’s release, and again touched upon by Stratton in his recent documentary, the film was slated amongst other ‘gamechangers’ within Australian film releases.

“I think the young actors, well, all the actors, but especially the young actors, are quite remarkable. I think it's extraordinary that so much of the story is told without any dialogue at all. Dialogue is used very sparsely and I think that's quite an achievement in itself to tell a story in visual terms the way it does, plus there's a great soundtrack, as well.”

“I think I should also say that it's a film that, while you're watching it, you feel that it's a tragedy, in a way. It's a very sad story. But the way it concludes with such optimism, I think it really soars and I think every Australian should see this film.” said Stratton. 

Samson & Delilah airs on NITV tonight, 27 July at 9.30pm and is streaming On Demand

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