Charlie's Country

Charlie's Country Irony

Fifty Dollars Was a Ripoff Anyway (Dramatic Irony)

After Charlie leads the police to the location where the cannabis dealers are hiding out in the bush, he returns to his dwelling and sits by the fire with Pete. Charlie and Pete joke to each other about how neither of them had to pay for the overpriced ganja the dealers gave them because the cops arrested the men. In this instance of dramatic irony, the audience learns that Pete and Charlie only agreed to let the dealers gouge them on the price because they assumed in advance that Charlie would show the police where to find the men. Meanwhile, both the police and the dealers are unaware that Charlie was playing to both sides of the conflict.

Difficulty Pronouncing Foreign Names (Situational Irony)

While in the hospital in Darwin, Charlie is visited by a white doctor. The doctor casually glances at Charlie's chart and then asks if he can simply call him Charlie, because he has "difficulty pronouncing foreign names." Charlie is taken aback, and comments in Yolngu Matha: "So now I'm the foreigner, am I?" In this instance of situational irony, the doctor's ignorance and colonial attitude are revealed when he speaks of an Aboriginal man's name as being foreign, when in fact English is the language of the foreign colonizers who invaded Australia.

Charlie Pretends to Track the Dealers (Dramatic Irony)

Early in the film, Charlie is woken by a drug dealer who asks for his help in finding a place to hide out in the bush. Charlie reluctantly helps the man. The next day, the police pressure Charlie into helping them track the criminals. Charlie feigns ignorance about the men, but acts as though he is using his Indigenous tracking skills to find where the criminals' tire tracks lead. Charlie makes a show of his tracking, making the credulous believe he is particularly skilled when in fact he is simply showing them where he told the men to go the day before. In this instance of dramatic irony, Charlie and the audience know Charlie is having fun by misleading the police.

Bobby Was Taken to the Hospital (Situational Irony)

After Charlie returns to his community following his prison sentence, Pete and Lulu sit with Charlie by his fire. Lulu asks Charlie yet again if he will teach the young men how to dance in the traditional way. Charlie tells him that Bobby should do it, as he said earlier in the film when asked. However, in an instance of situational irony, Charlie learns from Pete that Bobby was taken to the hospital in Darwin because Bobby's years of smoking have ruined his lungs. The moment is ironic because Charlie himself has poor lung health because of his years as a smoker, and because he fears dying in the Darwin hospital, away from his community. This instance of irony is significant because it prompts Charlie to agree to teach the young men how to dance.