Saturday
May012010

Samson and Delilah

Directed by Warwick Thornton

2009. Australia. 101 min.

BY ALEX CIRILLO

writer bio

I promise the beginning of this review won’t be as slow as the beginning of this film.  This review will also not make mention of religion beyond this sentence, despite the obvious biblical reference. 

To be completely truthful, I had no idea what was happening for at least the first fifteen minutes of this film.  Samson (Rowan McNamara) doesn’t talk until roughly an hour into the film and he literally says one word, “Samson”.  There is minimal dialogue throughout, instead music drives and supports the action.  The sound design is so well thought out and unique; it’s definitely the strong point.  To a nerd like me, the combination of music, ambient sound, and silence was riveting.  Silence plays a major role, especially when Samson is huffing gasoline.  When he’s high, all the ambient sound is eliminated causing the audience to feel as disconnected with reality as Samson is.

Aboriginal Australia proves to be a stunning backdrop and sharp contrast to the sad, hideous lives Samson and Delilah (Marissa Gibson) live.  The audience sees their destitute daily lives over and over (like Groundhog’s Day, but not) and each day only gets worse for them.  The first half hour of the film feels like an eternity, but once the couple heads out on their own the story really picks up in pace.  I won’t spoil it, but one part is so surprising that I literally jumped high enough to wake my boyfriend who had been sleeping soundly since the opening credit sequence.

I guess what I’m really saying is the last 45 minutes of the film make watching the first 56 worth it.  See this movie, but on DVD so you can watch the first half in double time; you’re not missing any dialogue anyway. 

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