This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
savanah’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
i have some mixed feelings on this one.
the story is heart wrenching, emotional and intense, but at times it was just too much. i couldn’t get myself to watch the scene where the baby dies and i had to skip through the countless rape scenes.
it feels as if there was an unnecessary amount of black suffering being exploited, and at times, solely for shock value.
the vicious, merciless slaughter of indigenous men and women being shown through the lens of a white irish woman and english soldiers doesn’t sit right with me. it’s a cheap tactic to package the fear and brutality suffered by indigenous australian’s into an easily consumable pill to swallow**- one which garners empathy from white audiences who empathise with the ‘good’ white people instead of the people we should be focusing on (i do not believe this was the directors intent at all). and i don’t mean to be harsh, but i absolutely hated the inclusion of the two white settlers who helped billy and clare get to town. simply felt unnecessary to me.
i don’t believe this film is all bad; in fact i think a lot of it is very good. it recalls a lesser known part of australia’s brutal history that deserves to be acknowledged and looked upon with shame. jennifer kent had good intentions, and i applaud her for crafting a well put together film that has been able to impact so many people, especially non-australians. this review may come off as nit-picky and over analytical (which in many ways it is) but i also admire its ability to start important conversations which are often shied away from. i genuinely think that more white australian people should watch this.
**i need to be clear that i mean media like this makes racism more consumable to white people in general. reading back on that line it sounds as if i’m saying this movie is easily consumable...... which it is DEFINITELY NOT. this was a horrifying experience and you should be aware of that before watching.