We all have seen that one film which captures your soul, High Ground was one of those movies. It takes you on an emotional journey, where you can relate to the characters, situations and reflect on the powerful quotes and messages.
High Ground is a fiction-inspired by real horrific events. It is also an emotional, sensitive and deeply moving film set during the macabre and vicious conflicts between Indigenous Australians and white settlers which spanned nearly 150 years (Australia's Frontier Wars).
The film opens up with a sickening and gruesome massacre, what should have been a peaceful operation to capture two Aboriginal bandits turned into a bloodbath. Travis (Simon Baker), a white man and former WWI sniper, rescues sole survivor and now orphan, Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul), and takes him to the local missionary.
Travis finds himself rejecting his role in the police force and being at odds with the callous Eddy (Callan Mulvey). He leaves the police force in disgust when his superiors cover up the massacre.
Twelve years later, Travis returns to the police force after being forced by his former police chief (Jack Thompson) to help try to put an end of series attacks on white settlers by the Indigenous gang, Wild Mob, which is led by Gutjuk's uncle Baywarra (Sean Mununggur).
The reuniting of Travis and Gutjuk was uneasy, due to Gutjuk's family being slaughtered by white guns. There was little trust between them and as they set out on the journey together, intending to bring Gutjuk's uncle, Baywarra to face justice peacefully, a series of events occur, and the pair are forced to work together. Loyalty and revenge are cross-examined, and drama plays out in a series of fraught and bloody confrontations.
Gutjuk is also placed at a crossroad, a path of peace and patience or revenge and acting upon anger are questioned.
Overall, the film was engrossing with the superb performances from the cast. It also presented an irony with the dark scenes and brutal violence, clashing with the breathtaking and picturesque views of Arnhem Land's beauty.
It was an emotional journey about a boy on the brink of manhood needing to reject or embrace anger as well as exploring culture, revenge, identity and the scars of colonial barbaric racism.