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Tracks: Film Review

Tracks: Film Review

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Jessica Tovey, Emma Booth, Melanie Zanetti (Rated M – 112 min).

Unlike another recent Australian film set in our vast outback, this is a beautifully told true story, a trek of spirituality and determination. Based on the events completed by Robyn Davidson who walked alone with only her trusty four camels and a dog as companions, beginning from Alice Springs finishing 1,700 miles later on the Western Australian coast.

She arrived at the Alice by train with a suitcase of inappropriate clothes and six dollars in her pocket. The lovely Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) plays Robyn with powerful realism considering the task at hand and unconventional filming locations. Cinematography as one would expect is immaculate, colours and imagery at the top of its game looking glorious on the big screen. Robyn is a  woman of much inner journey as the adventure she partakes. A fighting spirit not to gain notoriety or fame, just a desire to accelerate discovery.

Learning how to train camels on properties in Alice Springs she is taken advantage of by some dishonest employers until being given a break by a farm owner who understands her vision. Ancestors of the sacred land she is about to travel across give her their blessing, one elder even embarks as a guide during certain periods. Sponsored by Nation Geographic Magazine under conditions that they send one of their top on-assignment photographers to visit her at various meeting points through out the trek. He is Rick Smolan, a hip, young, beatnik snapper who is drawn to Robyn on a professional basis until a fondness to her draws them together intimately. For a brief time at least. Rick is so concerned he decides to secretly leave water canisters hidden at marked drop off points.

Obviously not all is easy going, actually most of it isn’t. A gun comes in handy to ward off charging feral beasts and the extreme elements of our harsh natural weather conditions play havoc on a daily basis. If your phobia is snakes of any kind, may I suggest to be prepared for a creepy moment concerning a very large reptile. I wouldn’t last five minutes.

Expect an absorbing movie, expect a sometimes slow journey with limited dialogue, but it is one remarkable achievement. Wasikowska is one of a crop of talented young actors embracing different film opportunities, accepting interesting characters in diverse stories such as Stoker and in my eyes the best Jane Eyre since Joan Fontaine in 1943. Adam Driver is a find too, always uncomfortably lustrous in the television show Girls, he was also impressive in a key cameo in Lincoln.

After seeing Tracks, inspiration to read the book is inevdiable, the couragous odyssey of Robyn Davidson is unforgettable.

Shane A. Bassett

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