High Ground

Directed by Stephen Maxwell Johnson
2019
Australia
105 minutes
CTC
Book Tickets
Simon Baker, Jack Thompson and Jacob Junior Nayinggul shine in this tense and powerful outback western, inspired by true events, directed by Stephen Maxwell Johnson (Yolngu Boy). Selected for Berlinale 2020.
High Ground tells the story of the aftermath of a brutal massacre of an Indigenous community. Returned from World War I, ex-sniper Travis (Baker) is working as a policeman in the Northern Territory and participates in an operation that goes horribly wrong. He leaves in disgust, but twelve years later is forced back to track down Baywara, an Indigenous warrior who is attacking new settlers to the region. Travis enlists Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul), a mission-raised Indigenous man, as his tracker and comes to realise that Gutjuk is the sole known survivor of the earlier massacre. Before long, the hunter becomes the hunted.

Shot in Kakadu National Park by Andrew Commis (Babyteeth), this beautifully crafted feature was produced by Maggie Miles (Paper Planes), David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin (Mystery Road), Witiyana Marika and Johnson. Inspired by true events, High Ground is unflinching in its depiction of the violence of colonial settlement, and through sensitive performances and direction leaves an indelible mark.

Stephen Maxwell Johnson grew up in the Bahamas, Africa and the Northern Territory of Australia. He directed a number of multi-award winning rock clips for the band Yothu Yindi, and his debut feature film was the acclaimed Yolngu Boy (2001). High Ground, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2020, has been 20 years in the making.
High Ground draws on genre conventions but also transcends them with some unusually thoughtful elements, notably its meticulous and respectful depiction of Aboriginal culture. The result is a gripping, visually spectacular revenge thriller that makes superb use of stunning landscapes while also addressing the lingering scars of colonial-era racism.
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

Tickets

Sat 16 January
3:30pm
Selling Fast State Theatre
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Program Strand
Summer Season
Year
2019
Classification
CTC
Country
Australia
Language
English and Aboriginal Languages with English subtitles
Director
Stephen Maxwell Johnson
Producer
David Jowsey, Maggie Miles, Witiyana Marika, Greer Simpkin, Stephen Maxwell Johnson
Cast
Simon Baker, Jacob Junior Nayinggul, Witiyana Marika, Jack Thompson
Screenwriter
Chris Anastassiades
Premiere
NSW Premiere
Genre
First Nations, Drama
Company Credits
Madman Entertainment
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