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Walkabout [Blu-ray] 
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While out on a picnic in the Australian outback with his teenage daughter (Jenny Agutter) and young son (Lucien John), a man goes insane and kills himself. The girl takes her brother into the outback in order that he doesn't see their father's dead body. There they meet a young Aborigine (David Gumpilil) who is on walkabout - a rites of passage ritual whereby he must survive in the wilderness for several weeks. He finds food and water for the siblings, and develops a form of communication with the young boy despite being unable to speak English. The girl, however, rebuffs the mating dance which the Aborigine performs in her honour.
Very few films achieve subliminal greatness with cross-cultural impact, but Walkabout is one of those films--a visual tone poem that functions more as an allegory than a conventionally plotted adventure. Considered a cult favourite for years, Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film centres upon two British children who are rescued in the Australian outback by a young aborigine. Through exquisite cinematography and a story of subtle human complexity, the film continues to resonate on many thematic and artistic levels. Just as Roeg intended, it is a cautionary morality tale in which the limitations and restrictions of civilisation become painfully clear when the two children (played by Jenny Agutter and Roeg's young son, Lucien John) cannot survive without the aborigine's assistance. They become primitives themselves, if only temporarily, while the young aborigine proves ultimately and tragically unable to join the "family" of civilisation. With its story of two worlds colliding, Walkabout now seems like a film for the ages, hypnotic and open to several compelling levels of interpretation. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nicholas Roeg's direction and camerawork are simply beautiful. He films wildlife in close-up, sometimes grainy images, and inserts surreal flashback sequences and comparisons between the Aboriginal and Western worlds. The film shows how prim, English Jenny Agutter becomes gradually more dishevelled and natural as she adapts, and the crucial turning point is when she swims naked in a pool. Her relationship with the Aborigine, which has to overcome poignant difficulties such as the language barrier and culture clash, is touchingly shown.
The acting is superb, making the story believable and moving. I was captivated from start to finish. The score, by John Barry, is perfect and atmospheric.Read more ›
It is therefore a matter of great regret that when reissuing the DVD last year, UCA did not see fit to provide us with anything better than a copy of the original release: the DVD is apparently still not anamorphic, only letterbox, the quality of the transfer is merely adequate (hardly better than the old VHS tape) and the extras are laughably basic. When there exists a German anamorphic PAL version, and the Criterion Collection edition released in the US (also non-anamorphic, sadly) has a Roeg+Agutter commentary, it is sad that the country of the film's origin cannot boast a DVD release worthy of such a classic film. Owning, as I do, the original DVD in its jewel-box case (remember those?), I shall not be buying this reissue, but will wait and hope for a future release that does justice to this beautiful film.
The concept of the film is quite simple. Two children a six year old boy (Lucien John) and his sixteen year old sister (jenny Agutter) are left to fend for themselves in the harsh Australian outback after the suicide of their father in the desert. After several days of trying to survive they meet a young aboriginal boy (David Gumpilil) on his walkabout (the tribal journey in the desert that serves as an initiation to manhood) who helps them to find the way back to civilization.
Even though the plot is simple the ideas are not. The film is a meditation on the primitive versus the modern. It explores societal expectations like few films before or sense and it takes on the clash of cultures as well. Beyond this Walkabout is a coming of age story for both its male and female protagonists.
Roeg was a cinematographer long before he became a director and his attention to detail comes across quite clearly in this film. There are moments when the film takes on the magic and mystery of a painting and the film's detail to landscapes is truly amazing.In addition to the photography the score by John Barry is well integrated into the structure of the film and continues the contrast between the old and the new.
The Criterion Collection Blu Ray is well worth the purchase price as it presents the film in a format that is better than most viewers originally saw it in the cinema. If there is a problem it may be that the audio is not as crisp as one would like but this is really only a minor problem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David Gumpilil as the Aboriginal youth is the real hero of a rather long-winded fictional nonsense. Hopefully the original novel was more credible. Read morePublished 29 days ago by John C
Criterion have done it again with this lovely bluray transfer with lots of extras. I once mentioned to an ex wife that I quite liked Jenny Agutter and never heard the end of it for... Read morePublished 1 month ago by N. M. Fletcher