Newest Reviews
No Man of God
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Quiet Place Part II, A
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Night Drive
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
  Charlie's Country Back In The Old Routine
Year: 2013
Director: Rolf de Heer
Stars: David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr, Luke Ford, Bobby Bunungurr, Frances Djulibing, Jennifer Budukpuduk Gaykamangu, Peter Minygululu, Bojana Novakovic, Ritchie Singer, Gary Sweet, Gary Waddell, J.B. Williams
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Charlie (David Gulpilil) is an Aborigine in Australia, and laments this makes him and his countrymen feel like second class ctiizens since the whites, from his point of view at least, do everything in their power to ensure that he is always restricted in his choices to the point of living a thwarted life. He lives in a native community, one set up by the whites to keep groups of Aborigines together under the impression that they have their own land to live on, but in effect this means they are patrolled strictly by white policemen who treat the place like a totalitarian state, clamping down on anything from drinking to hunting to even self expression. Charlie is resentful about this, yet cannot think of a solution...

David Gulpilil is the most famous native actor to emerge from Australia, having received his start in the industry when he was chosen to star with Jenny Agutter in Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout back in the early nineteen-seventies. But it wasn't all plain sailing from then on, as in spite of working regularly in acting roles, including one of the most successful Australian movies of all time in Crocodile Dundee, come the twenty-first century his demons caught up with him and he found himself both an alcoholic and in prison. Fortunately, there were those who refused to give up on him, and one of those was director Rolf de Heer, the Dutch/Australian moviemaker who was taking an interest in indigenous culture.

De Heer visited Gulpilil in jail and they worked out a movie for him to star in: Charlie's Country, based in his experiences, was the result and cheeringly it secured the actor the leading male performance award at Cannes in 2014 in the Un Certain Regard category. This was richly deserved in the eyes of many of those who saw the work, as it really was Gulpilil's film, he was in just about every scene and his direct, unpretentious quality not only made him captivating to watch, but tugged at the heartstrings when Charlie's life simply fails to play out in the manner he desperately wishes it to: a breakdown scene cracking his stoic exterior is undeniably powerful. With this actor also scripting, the issues facing his people rarely seemed more vivid and alive - and tragically sad - when he was both highlighting them and acting them out.

Acutely aware that many believe the Aborigines have taken the path of least resistance in their communities by doing the barest minimum to get by, and more often than not falling prey to alcohol addiction in the process, this didn't shy away from the accusations that they were nothing more than lazy and unwilling to drag themselves out of the mire of their own indolence. What it did was to make us understand, through Charlie's day to day existence, that the whole race had been knocked out of whack by their dominance by the whites: Charlie takes every opportunity to remind these folks he still regards as invaders that they brought a whole bunch of rules and dependencies to his land, as well as taking that land away, which have effectively ruined the chances of not only him, but all his fellow Aborigines, for keeping in touch with the old ways.

This is important since back before the white Australians showed up, the natives were masters of all they surveyed, self-contained and self-sufficient in their traditions and way of life, and Charlie pines for those days of which he has some (recent) memory, though the film makes it clear those days have gone and moving forward is the only way out of his predicament. When he decides to go back to nature and eke out his days fishing and hunting in the bush to get by, it's a case of his romanticism getting the better of him as he has become too domesticated, even in that shack he calls home, to survive. After ending up in hospital, he is ever more depressed and the lure of the demon drink is too much to deny, but just as you think you are watching a very slow suicide - jail also features - Gulpilil and de Heer managed to pull off a note of optimism, pointing out that because the Aborigines are living in a modern, white world it doesn't mean they need to forget the pride in their ancestors' traditions. Though the picture they paint is bleak and predictable, it's nice to see someone refusing to give in. Music by Graham Tardif.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1793 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: