For everyone TV review: The Beach

Warwick Thornton doing isolation before it was a thing. (Image supplied)


Celebrated filmmaker Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah) was doing isolation before it was a thing. On top of the world career-wise, his Indigenous western Sweet Country wowed film festival audiences worldwide in 2017, and he co-directed the recent ABC TV series Mystery Road alongside The Sapphires helmer Wayne Blair. But behind the scenes, Thornton has struggled with poor mental health.

Deciding to get away from it all last year, he retreated to an abandoned shack on a stunning but hard-scrabble beach on the Dampier Peninsula in far-north WA, on Baard people land. The two-month time-out to reassess what matters most to him was captured by Thornton’s equally talented son Dylan River, who remains off-camera.

This six-part doco series is the stunning result. Part man versus wild (hermit crabs, eagles and chooks don’t cooperate), part intense cooking show, and all emotional unpacking, it’s raw and uncompromising. The director is, for most of the run, silent in contemplation. An exercise in slow, meditative TV, the timing of its arrival could not be more perfect.

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