why isn't...

... aboriginal dude who stands trial in custody at the end of the film?

He gets convicted, no?

How come he's out and about and able to lead Burton to his doom?

...and how come "tax lawyer" Burton is apparently the only person who has sufficient awareness of the aboriginal people to represent them, despite the barrister saying "I've been representing these people for 12 years"?

Am I being too picky?


I was asking myself the same question..

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."


I thought the film had shown in earlier scenes that Chris was able to embody the form of an owl if he chose. He could also have been guiding David as a vision. It is also possible that he was out on bail.


To answer OP's question, Charlie was never one of the 5 suspects (despite being the actual killer by magical means). Being an old guy, the prosecutor probably didn't suspect Charlie of taking part in the fight, which (technically speaking) he didn't. Charlie was sitting in a car when it happened, rather than joining the others into the bar, so none of the witnesses from the bar would have seen him.

What doesn't make sense is that, given the cause of death was established to be drowning from a minute amount of water by falling into a shallow puddle, the verdict wasn't accidental death. No one deliberately tries to kill a man by pushing him into a puddle. The bar room brawl wasn't a serious enough crime in itself even for a verdict of involuntary manslaughter. This would have been a much more obvious legal strategy for Burton to follow. But of course that wouldn't have fit the film's greater narrative, which deliberately steers away from everyday logic. The court case was merely a MacGuffin to involve Burton and get things going.


To answer OP's question, Charlie was never one of the 5 suspects
I think the OP was talking about David, not Charlie. He was convicted, yet he's still free at the end. Perhaps he was released while awaiting sentencing.


"I think the OP was talking about David, not Charlie. He was convicted, yet he's still free at the end. Perhaps he was released while awaiting sentencing."

I think you mean Chris biolumen, not David.

But yes I agree with you, I assumed he was out on bail pending sentencing.

Charlie wasn't on trial and he is the one who takes the form of the owl.

The reason David the corporate tax lawyer is called into the case is at best vague and at worst non - realistic. IRL the Aboriginal Legal Service (whose offices we see in the film) would have represented the five. It wouldn't have gone to a tax lawyer as it is equipped with its own lawyers. Based on the telephone call David receives which we never fully hear, he's called up due to some case he worked on a dozen years prior to the events depicted.

IMO the reason David is a tax lawyer, is that Peter Weir wanted us to clearly understand that the main character is being taken physically and mentally right out of his comfort zone and established patterns of living. If he'd been an ALS lawyer we'd probably (correctly) assume he'd know more about tribal life and law. By David having to bone up on this sort of stuff and discuss it with Annie, we find out ourselves.


Good job. Of all the posters, I think you're the only one who actually watched the film.


It does help. doesn't it?


several years later, but I see the conversation is still going on...

Chris himself states that he is in "dream time" (i.e., not earth time) during the last scene. And when David asks where he will go now, he says he will rejoin his people/tribe in dream time.

The entire film takes place in two different dimensions, but only at the end does Chris fully communicate, and in so doing (and giving away the stone), he breaks the law of his people, but also finally frees David's vision.

We can presume, I think, that Chris's physical body is rotting away in prison. But then, Peter Weir, at least at that time, liked his endings open, and all the threads can't be tied up in a neat package. So we aren't really given a key to disentangle where dream time ends and earth time begins.

(There is another thread about the ending, where Burton's final entry into - and acceptance of - dream time is discussed. As far as I can see, these last scenes all take place in what for us is the "other".)

The danger, though, is that we might interpret the whole thing as hallucination. Our "cultured" minds simply don't have the perspective to grasp living in the two worlds at once. So rather than trying to figure it out logically, we just have to let go and realize that we are being taken through a new experience. Like seeing a brand new color, we only corrupt the experience by trying to define it using our previous memories.