TRACKS – A Review by John Strange

By: John ’Doc’ Strange
Directed by: John Curran
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Rainer Bock, Rolley Mintuma, John Flaus, Robert Coleby
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language)
Selig Rating: FULL PRICE
Runtime: 102 Min.
In 1975, a young lady in Australia decided to walk across the 2000 miles of Australian desert using three camels.  Other than the camels, her only company would be her dog, Diggity.  To help finance the trek, her friend comes up with the idea of getting National Geographic Magazine to sponsor her.  As a person who doesn’t much like the company of others, she only agrees to the magazines insistence on having a photographer along if said photographer only popped in for a day at a time to shoot photos along the route.
Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) walks to Alice Springs and then on to a camel farm where she apprentices to learn about the care and training of camels.  The early settlers in this part of Australia had brought the animals in to help them more safely in the region.  When cars and railroads came in, the camels were released to survive on their own.  They did better than survive, they have flourished.  Today, Australia has the largest number of wild camels in the world.
Following nearly a year in training and preparations, Robyn began her trek in early 1977.  National Geographic Magazine sent Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) to record the epic journey.  Robyn is not happy with having him popping up from time to time but he does help bring things (like water) to her along the trail.  But his actions cause her problems with the aborigines at a time when she needs their assistance to cross sacred ground.
This is a film that is interesting to watch, with the narrator giving us facts that add to the story as Robyn moves along her route.  There are nice events and frightening events as one would expect on a solo trip of this magnitude.  The script for Tracks, taken from the book written by Robyn about her trek, is excellent.  The director, John Curran, does a spot-on job.  As Robyn and Rick, Mia and Adam deliver wonderful performances.  This is a very visual journey.  I really enjoyed watching it unfold in front of me.
Movie Site:
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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