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Movie Review: Jandamarra’s War

Updated on July 11, 2015

Jandamarra’s War is a movie that portrays the life of a mythical hero who is derived from Bonuba aboriginal people. This mystic hero led her people in resisting colonialism in Kimberly during the 19th century. Jandamarra continued to oppose the colonial government until his death at the age of 21 years. However, when his antics became too threatening to the colonial government, the British government chopped his head from his body and sent it to England. This was the norm of the British government on those who happened to oppose its rule.

The director of the Jandamarra war has fashioned the movie in a factual manner. The movie is graced with vibrant and explicit recreations that stir the mind of the viewers. The violent encounters by the film’s main character, Jandamarra are turned into high quality action. Most of the interviews are short, but the director emphasizes on the character’s key moments where he struggles with his conscience as his brothers urge him to abandon his moves and pester him with questions of why he is so much concerned with the white man. The director has laced the film with periodic moments of notable quotes and photograph from political newspapers and magazines which require the government and the day’s political operatives to yield to their demands. Furthermore, the director has also delved into the more interesting and controversial topic of genocide.

In essence, the story depicts a real life of Jandamarra who led one of the hostile movements in his country, Bunuba from the European colonization. The director goes through the life of the main actor, from age six, when he is taken to live at a cattle stations by his mother. At this station, he rises up to become a stockman, eventually becoming a fugitive in his own land and hunting down invading pastoralists. However, he is brutally retributed by the colonial government for simply defending his people, land and culture.

In this documentary, the director has therefore, presented the facts in a logical and sequential order so as to present a true picture of the actual events. However, the story has been created in a compelling manner to illustrate some particular part in the history of Australian history, which had otherwise been forgotten. One of the effectiveness of this documentary is that the director has presented a narrative that is not only least known, but had been forgotten from the minds of many people in Australia. This has a potential of creating opportunities for film makers to utilize the potential which this story presents in developing it into a full blown film.


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