To be honest the thought of watching a film about a woman walking across the Australian outback pulling along four camels wouldn't exactly having me
rushing to buy a ticket at my local cinema, however as the saying goes " never judge a book by its cover".
"Tracks" is without doubt one of the surprise pleasures of the year so far.
"Tracks" tells the true story of Robyn Davidson, a 27 year old Australian woman who in 1977 set out on a solo trek across the Australian desert from Alice
Springs to the Australian west coast, a journey of some 2,700 km. The film is based on her article that she wrote for National Geographic magazine and
which was then expanded into a memoir and it's from this memoir that Curran’s film has been adapted.
The early part of the film centres on Davidson's attempt, over two years, to acquire the camels that she needs to carry her gear on her marathon trek. It's
during this time that she has to give up part of her independence and except funding from National Geographic magazine. Part of the magazine deal is that
she must allow photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Diver) to meet her at various points along her journey in order that he can photograph her and document her
Once she sets of across the harsh landscape, impressively photographed by Mandy Walker (whose credits, appropriately, include Baz Luhrmann's "Australia"),
against the advice of others, her own family tell her that her adventure can only lead to certain death. Davidson with only four camels and her dog for
company is alone for most of the journey; the only time that she has human companionship is when she meets Smolan or when she is guided across sacred
Aborigine land by an aboriginal elder.
Mia Wasikowska (The Double) gives a fantastic performance and manages to show Davidson as an ordinary woman doing an extraordinary feet. Davidson is a
woman who is driven by her own inner demons and who ultimately, through the journey that she takes, is looking for her own redemption. Wasikowska, a
native Australian herself, is certainly making a name for herself and is becoming one of the standout stars of her generation.
Director John Curran has managed to give us a film that is not only beautiful to look at but is also moving and touching in so many ways. Not to be missed.