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"Tracks" - An Intimate Epic,
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This review is from: Tracks [DVD]  (DVD)
For those yearning for a real connection in a superficial world of distractions and material focus, of disconnected lives, "Tracks" is a welcomed antidote to our ADHD culture. The film depicts a young woman's nine month journey across the vast Australian desert - one where, through the environment and events, she confronts herself, along with her buried past, cultural views, and on a universal level, nature itself. From an emotional desert to the cleansing tides of the ocean, this is a journey into the psyche, into the soul of a person who is separate from everything except her animals - it's one where she encounters resistance from without and within, and is finally able to accept the caring of others. Most importantly, "Tracks" shows us a young woman who needs to challenge herself physically and emotionally, to extend her boundaries, and is determined to see it through. Nothing, however, is overdone or spoon-fed to the audience, everything is achieved through a naturalistic focus, no drummed up Hollywood melodrama or cliches. John Curran's direction is masterful and measured and the cinematography of Mandy Walker is breathtaking - a rich tapestry of color and glorious light, from subtle shade to blazing sun and starry nights, capturing the lonely panorama of the Australian Outback. The entire cast is pitch-perfect. Adam Driver and Roly Mintuma lend humorous and empathic support, the loyal black lab, Diggity, and the four camel companions are all distinct personalities, each an important player in the story. Ultimately, though, none of the film's emotional resonance would have been possible without the amazing central performance of Mia Wasikowska, who brilliantly embodies a loner going through an intense experience that's both external and internal. There are no over-the-top emotional speeches, rather she communicates a deep understanding of her character through body language and eyes, through her very presence, which casts a hypnotic spell that draws us in, allowing us to care about her, warts and all, and share her experience.
"Tracks" is a film that's nuanced and authentic, and all the more powerful for it - it's also joyous. Credit should also be given to Garth Stevenson's evocative score, a sublime reflection of the natural world. This is a tale that takes you on a personal journey that's both cultural and spiritual - one of haunting beauty that will linger long after the film has ended.