From the onset of his career, Thornton's work has strongly focused on Aboriginal stories, people and lands. His feature films have frequently taken place in remote and isolated settings, most famously Samson and Delilah which was filmed and set in a remote Aboriginal community. In addition to representing Aboriginal people, Thornton's films often represent youth and the disempowered.
Thornton films privilege the Aboriginal perspective where the viewer is positioned to see the world through Aboriginal experience. As such, many of his film deal with themes related, or unique, to Aboriginal Australia including connection to country and the effects of colonisation on individuals and communities. Within these larger themes, Thornton's work also explores universal themes such as love, relationships and coming of age.
The links below will provide you with opportunities to do further reading on the themes and representations of Thornton's work. The video on the right-hand column is a documentary Thornton produced on the topic of the Southern Cross and it is a strong example of the themes and representations that dominate his work.