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Beautiful Film with a Beautiful Central Performance
on 30 April 2014
In 1977 a lonely Robyn Davidson(Mia Wasikowska) decides to travel 1700 miles by foot with four camels(3 adults, one offspring) and her dog Diggity from Alice Springs and go due west through some pretty hostile terrain to the Indian Ocean. Along the way she meets some interesting characters and has to put up with a part time companion in the form of National Geographic photographer Nick Smolyn(Adam driver) whose magazine requires the obvious in return for being the main sponsor of Davidson's trek.The only problem being that Davidson could really do without him because as,in the words of Greta Garbo and i'm paraphrasing,she wants to be alone which is the main motivation for the trip.
Based on a true story and remaining very faithful to it even if her reasons seem elusive and her desire to do it with camels is never convincingly explained, Tracks is a hynotically episodic film in the best possible sense. More mellow than melodrama, the film doesn't hitch itself to emotional highs and lows. Instead the whole thing plays out so leisurely and delicately that Davidson's odyssey seems refreshingly matter of fact which of course it is not.Walk,unload,sleep,get up,walk ,unload,sleep.Along the way she gets some help from some Aboriginal elders, stays with assorted folks dotted throughout this barren landscape and Nick filters in and out too with instrusiveness and helpfulness in equal part.
Director John Curran(Painted Veil,Stone)steers the ship effortlessly and the landscape is stunningly rendered in shot after shot after shot. However the star here is Wasikowska whose performance is a delight.She plays Davidson with just the right amount of obstinancy,warmth and clarity of purpose while at the same time retaining a aura of emotional fragility as to the enormity of her undertaking.
A double bill with Nick Roeg's Walkabout (both in hd) would a treat for the eyes and I will be doing just that when Tracks is released.Catch it if you can on it on it's limited theatrical run before it disappears. You won't be disappointed.
Her standoff with some feral camels is superbly done.