Call this an Australian western. It's visually stunning. I've never see the Australian Outback photographed like this. It's also incredibly violent. There were times when I almost had to turn away. Lots of dirt and filth, and more flies that I've ever seen in a movie before.
Here's the deal: an outlaw family, led by Danny Huston as Arthur Burns, lives according to the principle laid down by The Misfit in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find." You remember. "No pleasure but meanness." The opening credits reveal what they've done to another family of three, and it's not pretty.
Then comes the opening scene, an intensely kinetic gun battle in which Mikey Burns (the slow one) and his brother Charlie are captured. They've left the gang, for whatever reason, and now they're in big trouble. Captain Stanley (great performance by Ray Winstone, but then all the performances are good) makes Charlie a proposition: kill Arthur, and Charlie and Mikey will be pardoned. What happens after that is best left to you to discover. As mentioned above, some it might be tough to take if you're a wimp like me.
The movie deals with some of the same things American westerns do, like the attempt to "civilize" an unsuspecting country, often using methods as terrible as those the outlaws themselves resort to.
And then there's the problem of the aboriginals. This is the only movie I've ever seen that begins with a warning that "some scenes may be offensive to aboriginal peoples." The methods used against them are certainly as brutal as those employed by the Burns gang.
Check it out and see what you think. There don't seem to be any easy answers, and the movie never compromises the moral ambiguity it presents.