Race relations and colonization are central to High Ground, an Australian feature set in the 1930’s, but the only major problem is that it doesn’t tackle these issues with any real depth.
High Ground follows a young Aboriginal man, Gutjuk, who was brought to a white settlers’ camp years prior after a peaceful mission turned into a massacre.
He grows up under the tutelage of those who killed his family, but is enlisted when his uncle, warrior Baywara, begins burning settlements to the ground and killing white people.
He teams with Travis, a former soldier who had a hand in the trauma years earlier, to find his uncle and restore peace. But he is unaware of Travis’s involvement prior.
Director Stephen Johnson and writer Chris Anastassiades put together an intelligent screenplay and beautiful, well-shot production. But it lacks meaning and purpose.
Simon Baker, of The Mentalist fame, gives a good performance here, but he’s out-acted by a longshot when Jacob Junior Nayinggul is onscreen as Gutjuk.
It’s an interesting and entertaining effort, even if it doesn’t reach the heights it could have.