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Thursday, 13 December 2007


The year is 1968, and on a farm out in the West Australian wheat belt two teenage boys are good friends: Ed (Xavier Samuel) is the white son of the farm's owner, and the aboriginal Paddy (Clarence John Ryan) works for Ed's father alonside his own dad in return for food and board on the property. And for a long time that's pretty much all there is to this film, as writer / director Peter Carstairs is content to let images speak louder than words as scene after slow-paced scene involves little more than the two teenagers hanging out together around the farm. Then the government, in a well-meaning act of compensation, makes it mandatory for Aboriginal workers to be paid the same as everyone else and things start to fall apart between both the teenagers and their fathers. If you're looking for a high-energy, hard-hitting parable about race-relations in this country, keep walking. This film is content to be its own thing, and while the story might have wider implications that's for you to find. Closer to a tone poem than anything else, this is well-acted and often beautifully shot with long moments of near-wordless visual power. But for those who like things to happen in their viewing, the leisurely pace might start to get to you after a while.

Anthony Morris

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