Sweet Country (2017 film)

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Sweet Country
Sweet Country (2017 film).jpg
Film poster
Directed byWarwick Thornton
Produced byGreer Simpkin
David Jowsey
Written byDavid Tranter
Steven McGregor
StarringSam Neill
Bryan Brown
Hamilton Morris
CinematographyWarwick Thornton
Edited byNick Meyers
Bunya Productions[1]
Release date
  • 6 September 2017 (2017-09-06) (Venice)
  • 25 January 2018 (2018-01-25) (Australia)
Running time
113 minutes

Sweet Country is a 2017 Australian western film directed by Warwick Thornton. It is set in 1929 in the outback of the Northern Territory, Australia. It was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival[2] and in the Platform section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[3][4] At Venice, it won the Special Jury Prize award,[5] and at TIFF it won the Platform Prize.[6] It also won Best Feature Film at the 2017 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.[7]


Sam is a middle-aged Aboriginal farmworker in the outback of Australia's Northern Territory soon after the end of the First World War. His employer, Fred Smith, a religious man, agrees to lend Sam to a bitter war veteran named Harry on a neighbouring farm to renovate the latter's cattle yards. Harry is clearly disturbed by his involvement in the war and he rapes Sam's wife after sending Sam out to round up some cattle. Sam's relationship with Harry quickly deteriorates during Sam's stay. Later, Harry visits the farm on which Sam works looking for a runaway Aboriginal youth named Philomac. Harry fires shots which ends with Sam shooting and killing Harry in self-defence. For the murder of a white man, Sam is now on the run from the law with his wife across the outback. The manhunt for Sam is led by Sergeant Fletcher, who has to contend with the heat, venomous animals and hostile natives. Questions of justice start to surface as the true details of the killing come to light during Sam's trial.


  • Hamilton Morris as Sam Kelly
  • Sam Neill as Fred Smith
  • Bryan Brown as Sergeant Fletcher
  • Thomas M. Wright as Mick Kennedy
  • Matt Day as Judge Taylor
  • Ewen Leslie as Harry March
  • Natassia Gorey-Furber as Lizzie Kelly
  • Gibson John as Archie
  • Anni Finsterer as Nell
  • Shanica Cole as Lucy
  • Tremayne and Trevon Doolan as Philomac
  • Luka Magdeline Cole as Olive


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 95% based on 81 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Sweet Country makes brilliant use of the Australian outback as the setting for a hard-hitting story that satisfies as a character study as well as a sociopolitical statement."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[9]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
Best Film David Jowsey Won
Greer Simpkin Won
Best Direction Warwick Thornton Won
Best Original Screenplay Steven McGregor Won
David Tranter Won
Best Actor Hamilton Morris Won
Best Supporting Actress Natassia Gorey-Furber Nominated
Best Cinematography Warwick Thornton Won
Best Editing Nick Meyers Won
Best Sound Sam Gain-Emery Nominated
Thom Kellar Nominated
Will Sheridan Nominated
David Tranter Nominated
Best Costume Design Heather Wallace Nominated
Best International Direction Warwick Thornton Nominated


  1. ^ "Made in SA Showcase". SAFC. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  2. ^ Anderson, Ariston (27 July 2017). "Venice Competition Includes Films From George Clooney, Guillermo del Toro, Darren Aronofsky". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  3. ^ Kay, Jeremy (3 August 2017). "'The Death Of Stalin' to open Toronto Film Festival Platform programme". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  4. ^ Lodge, Guy (7 September 2017). "Venice Film Review: 'Sweet Country'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  5. ^ Anderson, Ariston (9 September 2017). "Venice: Guillermo del Toro Wins Golden Lion for 'The Shape of Water'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  6. ^ Vlessing, Etan (17 September 2017). "Toronto: 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Captures Audience Award"". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Australia's Sweet Country Wins Best Feature Film At 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Sweet Country (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Sweet Country Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Winners & Nominees - AACTA". www.aacta.org. Retrieved 4 December 2018.

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