Samson & Delilah (15)

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The Independent Culture

Set in a remote Australian outpost, Warwick Thornton's story of a romance between two Aboriginal teenagers is astonishing for being told almost entirely through music and images.

Samson (Rowan McNamara) is a deadbeat hooked on sniffing petrol; Delilah (Marissa Gibson) is a part-time artist who cares for her ailing grandmother. Already cursed by poverty, the pair trade rural alienation for the city, where they are again cut adrift and ignored. Thornton improvises a script so lean it's a surprise when somebody actually talks. Terrific as the two leads are, the film's most haunting performance is by the director's brother, Scott Thornton, who plays a garrulous vagrant named Gonzo and looks every inch a man who has lived rough himself – which indeed he did. He was promised a role in the film on condition that he prepared himself in rehab, a great decision on all counts, because he's mesmerising. It becomes very bleak at times, and requires a little patience to catch its drift, but nobody will mistake it for anything other than remarkable.