Samson & Delilah

DRAMA; 1hr 41min

STARRING: Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson

Twilight zone: McNamara and Gibson 

Life in an Aboriginal community in remote Central Australia is parched, harsh and painfully slow, its every day a replica of the one before. Sixteen-year-old Delilah (Gibson) cares for her wheelchair-bound artist grandmother (Mitjili Gibson as Nana) while 15-year-old Samson (McNamara) sniffs glue and hangs around. It’s a journey of habit with no horizon in sight, and director Warwick Thornton’s feature-film debut allows the ambling patterns to speak for themselves as Samson takes a shine to an initially resistant Delilah and, without a word spoken between them, shifts his foam mattress into her compound. Then Nana dies, local women wrongly blame and beat Delilah, Samson’s frustration erupts, and the two of them are on the move in a stolen truck.


With the sparsest of dialogue (much of it in dialect) and zero hyperbole, Thornton’s heroic love story gets inside the skin of indigent life. McNamara and Gibson are first-time actors but they know the truths of the story they are telling, their silences more revealing than the words they don’t need to say.