On the 29th of April 2015, Myuran Sukumaran was executed by firing squad. With the sound of gunfire came the close of one of the most public and divisive stories in Australian history, the two ‘ringleaders’ of the Bali 9 had been executed.
Guilty is a film which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival last year Directed by artist Matthew Sleeth, who mentored Myuran in art during his imprisonment, Sleeth looks to bring into undeniable clarity the last 72 hours of Myuran Sukumaran’s life.
It goes without saying there are going to a lot of opinions on this topic and by extension this film. Sleeth cuts the opening moments of the film with soundbites from a number of different personalities and people who voiced their opinion while the Bali 9 trial was taking place. A sense of the climate and mood of the time is captured in the early footage of this scandal. As the trial finishes and a date is set we see a reflective Myuran, played by Adam McConvell, expressing his hopes, dreams and fears in his art. In the last 72 hours on the prison island of Nusakambangan, Myuran created many beautiful and emotive pieces capturing his last moments of life.
Sleeth has done an amazing job at capturing the heartache and torment of these last moments and the pain and suffering visited upon not only the prisoners but the hearts and minds of loved ones. Much of the film approaches its subject matter in a cold and foreboding style. It pulls off being both unassuming and deeply heartfelt. Without delving too far into expressing thoughts and feelings into the subject of the Myuran Sukumaran’s execution it simply produces a beautifully directed account on all the moments surrounding it right up until that final gunshot.
The outcome and consequences of the Bali 9 trail has long divided Australians. In this strong and well-presented depiction of those events do I believe we can obtain a better understanding.
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