When this film opened with a statement from the Australian Prime Minister proclaiming its great importance I was worried. For a while my fears were realized as rather stiff acting and bad dialogue looked like sinking a well-photographed movie set in the Australian bush. But as the action hotted up Ken G. Hall's directorial vision began to show and the film became exciting, moving and spectacular. The actors seemed to relax into their roles and there is a great performance from a little cattle dog. Interesting and unique characters such as an Afghan Moslem peddler and his daughter, the title character running the farm after her father's death, a group of clowns pretending to be shearers, a handicapped man who feels emasculated by his limp, an old farmer who has gone blind etc - begin to interact in unexpected ways.
But it is the climactic bush fire sequence that makes this film unforgettable. This could not have been staged - there is real danger here, especially as the main characters huddle together in a pond as the fire rages toward them at a terrifying pace. This is brilliant film-making. Make sure you wade through the first half hour or so and you will be richly rewarded.
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