Big Screen Review :: Tracks

March 11th 2014

tracks mia

Tracks is the new movie about the true story of Robyn Davidson: a lady who walks with some camels from Alice Springs all the way to the Indian Ocean. Which is really far.


If you watch this, you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time with sunburnt Mia Wasikowska hanging out in the desert with some camels. Also, you will learn A LOT about camels.

This is an interesting movie, and Robyn Davidson is an interesting character. Her father was an explorer, but the film basically says that she decided to make this walk for no great reason other than wanting to be alone. Which makes the stakes of the journey pretty low.

Watching the movie, I was thinking that her decision to take such an epic journey was a bit like this weird impulse that I sometimes get when I am drunk: the impulse to just walk home from wherever I am, regardless of the time or distance. I once made an epic journey from Hurstville to Lugarno after convincing myself this was a good idea. You usually have second thoughts about your decision when it crosses your mind to take a nap in the park… For Robyn, those second thoughts come when she is being attacked by wild camels.

This is an amazing journey, but perhaps not the most obviously cinematic one.

Her desire for isolation means we don’t get a lot of drama, conflict, or you know… dialogue. The movie tries to make up for this by providing us with a National Geographic photographer named Rick, played by Adam Driver (from the TV series Girls). The problem is that Robyn finds him completely irritating. And so did I. In return, he finds her completely baffling… and I’ve gotta admit, for a lot of this movie so did I.


tracks picnic

I guess what I am saying is that the movie doesn’t really work that well, and yet I did enjoy it. It’s beautiful, full of stunning scenery and images. It’s also nicely paced and almost hypnotic at times. Mia Wasikowska is a great actress and manages to be engaging even though she’s playing a tough character. This is an amazing story and I’m going to have to read the book it’s based on, but my suspicion is that it probably should have stayed on the page. Director John Curran has done the best job he could with the material, but I don’t really think there’s a movie in it.


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