Artfully conceived and executed, Warwick Thornton’s period outback western mixes potent themes and striking imagery. It’s hard-hitting and tough to watch as harsh cruelty takes centre stage in the guise of murder, rape and discrimination. The themes are slavery and lawlessness; the imagery (through Thornton’s lens) includes expansive red skies, desolate vistas and silent rusty red rock faces. The narrative weaves its way through the imagery, offering a glimpse of life in the late 20s when Aboriginals are treated as ‘black stock’ and local lawmen believe they are the law. It’s a haunting film that involves from the outset and most importantly we are able to understand the characters – albeit stereotypical – and as unlikeable as they mostly are.