Samson & Delilah

"Very Good"

Samson & Delilah Review


A fascinating glimpse into rural Australian life, this virtually wordless love story takes some very dark turns as it probes an offbeat connection between two Aboriginal young people. And it's so atmospheric that it lingers long in the memory.

Samson (McNamara) is a petrol-sniffing addict in a tiny desert community where he lives with his brother (Matthew MG Gibson) and has his eye on Delilah (Marissa Gibson), who lives over the road with her Nana (Mitjili Gibson). When their reluctant, awkward courting rituals are interrupted, they head into a nearby city, where they are treated as outcasts, taking up residence under a bridge with a crazy homeless guy (Thornton). Yet while Delilah tries to get them back on their feet, Samson can't get his nose out of the petrol bottle.

This is an extremely grim story of a particularly nasty culture clash, and yet writer-director Thornton tells it with wit and irony, drawing out the characters' cheeky personalities and steely wills without using much dialog at all. Samson only says one word in the entire film, and Delilah doesn't say much more, but we can see into their hearts as a result of the subtly textured direction and transparent performances. Words aren't really necessary.

This is a strikingly vivid depiction of this small community well beyond the fringe of Australia's European culture. And by keeping the perspective so focussed, we vividly feel these characters' isolation both in their dusty village and in the way they are ignored by people on the city streets.

Meanwhile, the film cleverly adapts ancient Aboriginal customs to this setting, with the tetchy courtship rituals and family beatings contrasted against some starkly violent events in the city.

The film feels somewhat random and alien, but the attention to detail makes it utterly engaging, from the endearing personalities of the central characters to their interaction with nature (flies, ants, kangaroos). And the low-key drug-addiction storyline adds a quiet poignancy to both Samson and Delilah as they try to overcome their aimless, voiceless situation. That the story finds a glimmer of hope in the end is truly remarkable.



Samson & Delilah

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 7th May 2009

Distributed by: Indiepix

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Warwick Thornton

Producer: Kath Shelper

Starring: Suzzanna as Deliah, Paul Hay as Samson

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