Samson & Dalilah is an Australian film that has won many awards, such as Cannes film festival. This was made more impressive that this was the director’s (Warwich Thorton) debut feature.
Now Samson & Dalilah has divided audience, and recently sparked quite the debate about whether it was a film we enjoyed or not. With divided opinions there was one thing we could all agree on, and that was that technically it was solid. The strength of film like any art form is that it is mostly subjective; so looking at a film objectively can only go so far.
Ok, now the review starts. The story is about two native Australians that are trying to survive in a country run by the ‘white power’. The two lost souls stumble the open wasteland trying to cope with the recent death of Dalilah’s grandmother. Their journey takes them across to the city/ town that in turn shows them the divide between themselves and the ‘white power’. They grow closer to each other and become dependant on their partner.
Now before I plug my own opinion into this I will express the positives from the film. Samson and Dalilah has a great way of telling a love story among many other subjects, with little to no dialogue. This is a credit to the actors, which were not actors before this film. There wooden performance worked in the realistic sense. Also great use of multi channelling the audio, this gave depth to the limited sound.
Samson & Dalilah reminded me of a hybrid of ‘The Road’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ now this can be a positive as these films have quite a larger audience but in my opinion this is a negative quality. The fact that this film is a slow burner, which I the same problem I had with ‘The Road’. The visuals have a mixture of responses, ranging from great use of cinematography to visually stale. The visuals for me were the element that detached me from the film. This was accomplished by extreme long shots and painstakingly long cuts. Accompanying the long cuts the sound was minimal with occasional spicks in sound by a music track. I understand the usage of minimal sound in order to engross the audience further, but this seemed to add to the boredom that not only I felt.
Due to the lack of dialogue the narrative had to be supported; this was by attempted visual humour that horribly fell flat on its face. Warwick Thornton is regarded as the prince of darkness because of he favours natural lighting. Although this is true there were shots that had unrealistic lighting. So in a film that is meant to be about the day-to-day real life, this seems like an odd choice.
So in summary Samson & Dalilah is a marmite type of film. You will either love it or hate it, I very much doubt there is a middle ground on this one.