Some of Thornton’s work has been criticised for its focus on contemporary social dysfunction. Samson and Delilah, for example, portrayed two teenagers’ experiences of rejection and isolation in a remote community and in Alice Springs through a series of events that are perhaps unlikely within the timeframe in which they occur. This compression of incidents from Aboriginal everyday life also features in Green Bush, and Thornton has explained in interviews that all the material in his films is drawn from his own experience. While his films are ostensibly realistic, their dense and highly emblematic use of everyday objects and incidents prefaces an understandable transition from film-making to art installation. Thornton debuted his first installation, Stranded, at the Adelaide film festival in 2011, and elsewhere he has commented on the appeal of the relative immediacy of an art installation project compared to the often expensive and lengthy process of film-making.