The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Based on a novel by Thomas Keneally, which was in turn inspired by actual events, this drama is a shocking indictment of the racism inflicted on the indigenous people of Australia. Jimmie (Tommy Lewis) is a half-white, half-aborigine young man raised by a Methodist minister. Feeling outcast among the aborigines, Jimmie moves to the city and gets a job working for a white family. When a white serving girl at the estate becomes pregnant, everyone is convinced that Jimmie is the father; to spare the girl's honor, Jimmie marries her and is allowed to live with her on the estate. But after the child is born, everyone realizes that the father was a white man, not Jimmie; he is still willing to accept the child and stand beside his wife, but his employers now feel that he married a white girl under false pretenses, and they bar him from the estate. Forbidden to see his wife and fired without receiving his pay, Jimmie finally explodes in a fury of violent revenge. Director Fred Schepisi's original cut of this film runs 122 minutes, though it was more widely distributed in a shortened version running 108 minutes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating:
R
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:

Cast

Tommy Lewis
as Jimmie Blacksmith
Freddy Reynolds
as Mort Blacksmith
Ray Barrett
as Constable Farrell
Jack Thompson
as Rev. Neville
Peter Carroll
as McCready
Elizabeth Alexander
as Petra Graf
Marshall Crosby
as Peter Newby
Rob Steele
as Claude Lewis
John Bowman
as Mullett
Bryan Brown
as Shearer
Ruth Cracknell
as Mrs. Heather Newby
Don Crosby
as Mr. Newby
Julie Dawson
as Martha Neville
Arthur Dignam
as Man in Butcher Shop
Steve Dodds
as Tabidgi
Jane Harders
as Mrs. Healy
Ray Meagher
as Dud Edmonds
Robyn Nevin
as Mrs. McCready
Angela Punch McGregor
as Gilda Marshall
Peter Sumner
as Dowie Stead
Brian Anderson
as Hyberry
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

All Critics (6)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

July 21, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 21, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie is gorgeous pure filmmaking even when we wince at the violence - and we do, because Schepisi doesn't present it as cathartic or exciting.

Full Review… | August 24, 2015
eFilmCritic.com

A powerful unsettling film about racism in Australia in 1900.

Full Review… | June 9, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

½

I've only seen this movie once, getting on for 25 years ago, late one night on BBC2, back when dedicated movie channels were in their infancy and the BBC still cared about its film programming. One of the regrettable byproducts of avid film viewing is a certain desensitisation to violence; we'll unflinchingly watch the most harrowing of scenes without being put off our popcorn. The brain-searing power of Fred Schepisi's second feature, however, has never left me, and I don't imagine it ever will. The story concerns a young Aboriginal boy, so dehumanised by white colonialism that he lashes out, commits an act of brutal savagery and goes on the run. While Schepisi certainly sympathises with his central character, I don't remember him seeking to excuse Jimmie's actions, and nobody could accuse him of pulling his punches in depicting the crime itself. A superb film. See it if you get the chance.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

Not easy to watch, once the action gets started. But based on true events, therefore not without cause. I keep thinking I'll run out of movies with naked people in them so I can maybe watch one with family members, but NOOOOO.

Andy Cramer
Andy Cramer

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