review for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith on AllMovie

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
by Michael Betzold review

A difficult film that was one of the most shocking products of the Australian New Wave, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith demonstrated that Fred Schepisi was a director willing to handle explosive subjects. Schepisi had made The Devil's Playground two years earlier; in this film, he tackled a true story that had been semi-fictionalized by Thomas Keneally. It's a blazing indictment of Australian racism, centering on the mistreatment of a young half-breed aborigine (Tommy Lewis) raised by a Methodist minister. He gets mixed up in sexual politics, accused of misdeeds involving a white girl, and eventually goes on a murderous rampage. Schepisi's task is a thankless one, helped immeasurably by Lewis' portrayal, which helps audiences sympathize with a victim who becomes vengeful. Schepisi went on to a Hollywood career after this film won international acclaim.