Samson and Delilah
Starring Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson and Mitjili Napanangka Gibson. Written and directed by Warwick Thornton. Not rated. Playing at the Detroit Film Theatre, 2/25 – 3/6.
Life isn't too vibrant for Samson and Delilah. Australian aborigines living in a secluded and derelict area of the Outback, their lives tend to play out like an incredibly depressing version of Groundhog Day (only without any of that film's ... dare I be so uncultured as to say ... appeal?). Every day Samson wakes up to the trio of reggae musicians jamming outside his window (who seemingly play the same song all day, every day), then he huffs from his bedside can of inhalant and ... wanders aimlessly around. Delilah spends each day painting with her aged Nana and rebuking Samson's romantic advances (which generally involve throwing rocks at her and forcing his way onto her property). Eventually, these two leave town together in a stolen car, huff gasoline and try to start a new life.
In the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, Samson is a Herculean figure who has his strength taken away by his conniving wife Delilah, who cuts his hair in his sleep. In this tale, Samson is his own Delilah, sapping the strength of both himself and Delilah with his huffing (and puffing and blowing of brain cells). And for the viewer, this film itself is Delilah, sneaking up behind you and silently shaving your head until you're numbed to the events unfolding, all of which are dreary, depressing and completely unfulfilling. The movie is a cultural statement but what exactly is it showing us? I'd wager a guess, but my head's been shaved and my eyes have been stabbed out by Philistines. Woe is me. — Kirk Vanderbeek