Eye For Film >> Movies >> Tracks (2013) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Human endeavour challenges danger's fatal attraction. Why people do crazy things and put themselves at risk is less understandable than how they do it and where they go.
Robyn Davidson walked 1700 miles across the vast, sand blown outback of Australia in 1977, accompanied by three and a half camels and her faithful black labrador. Occasionally a National Geographic photographer caught up with her and did a photo shoot. Otherwise she was alone.
She wrote the article that went with the pictures, followed by a book. Now, New York director John Curran has made a movie with Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland) playing Robyn.
What contributes to its purity and perfection is Wasikowska's performance, Curran's sensitive interpretation and debut screenwriter Marion Nelson's unsentimental script.
Visually the film has emotional qualities that contribute to the feeling of admiration for Robyn's quest. Curran's use of flashback and Nelson's vocal narrative add pieces to the puzzle. Why? Why's she doing this?
You have to leave that hanging. She's what they call in the bike shed "a hottie 10" and yet here she is with difficult stubborn animals on a trek that could have been a suicide mission if it hadn't been for the help of indigenous Australians.
She knows nothing at the start and has to work on filthy camel stations and sleep in ruined shacks for no wages to learn about the animals.
"An ordinary person is capable of anything," she says. And then proves it.
She accepts the support of the National Geographic because she needs the money to make the journey. Her relationship with Rick Smolan (Adam Driver), the photographer, is a combination of aggravation and gratitude. He's shy and unsure of himself while her affinity with native beasts is understandably close.
This is more than the recreation of a don't-try-this-at-home adventure. It is a beautiful film, tempered with tension and trepidation under a killer sun.Reviewed on: 18 Apr 2014