I would really like to believe that Samson and Delilah, a new Australian film produced on a very low budget with inexperienced actors, is the masterpiece some reviewers claim it is.
But I am not hopeful.
A friend who saw it told me that it was dull in the extreme, and that the only reason the critics are enthusiastic is that its central characters are aboriginal, and that the whiteys are pretty much all bad guys.
That Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton both gave it five out of five is another reason to be suspicious.
It gives audiences a ‘no holds barred look at the problems facing remote Indigenous communities – violence, substance abuse and poverty.’ Oh dear.
I wonder if it continues the trendy line of blaming the white establishment for these problems. A line that disempowers aboriginal people by pretending they are so victimised there is nothing they can do to improve their circumstances.
Or if it gives indigenous people hope, empowering hope, by suggesting that they have the answers, that things could change for them if they were willing to change.
If you want things to be different, do something different.
So convinced of its value is first time director Warwick Thornton that he says ‘I want mainstream to see it, I want the whole of Australia to see it. If it doesn’t appeal to them, well I’ll jam it down their throat.’ Oh dear.
Most of the story is told without dialogue; a natural fit for a story of teenage love, says Thornton. Oh dear.
You can almost guarantee Samson and Delilah will be required viewing at Australian high schools for years to come. And probably an official year twelve ‘text.’ Students will be bored out of their brains, and even more resentful than they are already.
I’ll see it. I make a habit of seeing new Australian films. I’m used to disappointment.