Sunday, January 25, 2015


Year: 2014
Director: John Curran
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Plot: Based on the true story of Robyn Davidson, a woman who walked across 1700 miles of the Australian desert in 1977 with four camels and her dog.

Review: This time of the year i.e. awards season sees plenty of true stories being screened in cinemas, and here's another one. 

Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson, a woman who successfully crossed the harsh Australian desert from Alice Springs to the west coast, all the way to the Indian Ocean. The movie shows us how she learned to work with camels, prepare for her journey, trek for miles while meeting some aborigines along the way, and her friendship with photographer Rick Smolan, who is tasked to document her trip. 

Director John Curran not only presents Davidson's arduous journey, but also gives the viewer some minor insights into her personality and state of mind, not unlike Into The Wild. In Curran's story, Davidson is shown as someone who seeks calmness and simplicity, an escape from the humdrum of having to listen to other people. While her decision to go on this journey isn't well received by her family and friends, she goes anyway, with her beloved camels and faithful dog Diggity. Overall, Curran doesn't exactly fully explain all the reasons behind why Davidson would go on this trip, but one could say that it is up to the viewer to interpret it for themselves.

Curran, along with cinematographer Mandy Walker and production designer Melinda Doring deserve plenty of credit for successfully showing the harsh and barren desert Davidson walks through. Wasikowska of course gets the lion's share of praise for taking on the lead role here. While she didn't actually take the whole journey, one can see the good amount of work she put in to look the part, which includes training with the camels. She comes across as someone who isn't always understood, but mostly likable. Adam Driver plays Rick Smolan with a sense of awkwardness, as in he admires her immensely but can't really get along with her at times, partially because Davidson hates having her picture taken too often.

Admittedly, this isn't an easy film to sit through, as the overwhelming shots of Davidson walking on the desert gets monotonous, especially in the second half. The story may also have trouble connecting to viewers who are expecting something extra, considering how basic and simple it is overall.

Tracks isn't exactly the best biography there is out there, but it is intriguing in its own way. If you ever wondered if it were possible to walk across near endless miles of desert, or if you've heard of Davidson's trek, or if you love journeys of any kind, give this film a try. (7/10)

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