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In 1975, 26-year-old Robyn Davidson set off on foot from Alice Springs towards the Indian Ocean – a distance across Australia of 1,700 miles.
With her dog Diggity and a few camels in tow, the young woman began walking..
..and she made it.
Mia Wasikowska – Robyn Davidson
Tracks is an emotion-fuelled piece of cinema. In fact, it displays every possible emotion a human being can experience; sadness, focus, achievement, loss, despair, isolation, contentment being just a few. Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn superbly, and carries the movie effortlessly – the actress seems to genuinely be the part, and was was well cast for this.
Without sounding too deep, I could feel the reception of the cinema audience; one elder woman sat in front of me was very vocal when gasping or crying out in shock – the young lady sat next to me seemed to curl up in her seat, embracing the movie nicely – and the pair behind me seemed like they were enjoying it. This is one of the reasons I enjoy cinema so much; the reaction from the other audience members, seeing how others like / dislike the feature.
As Robyn prepares to embark on her journey, various items are offered to her in aid.
A radio: “I don’t want it”
A backup generator: “I don’t want it”
Money: “I don’t want it”.
This bit was strong – although I personally felt frustrated at the girl refusing instruments which could save her life, it showed how bloody strong and empowered she was. She didn’t want – or even need – what they were offering her.
What can you say to that?!
This movie included some very adorable scenarios. I actually found myself exclaiming “awwww!” more than a few times.
The adorable bits usually involved Diggity (her faithful doggy) and the camels she took along with her. At one point, the sand is too hot for the camels to walk on – and their furry feet are almost broken under the strain. So Robyn knocks up some makeshift shoes / slippers for them. My god it was cute – seeing the huge beasts continue their journey with hessian wrapped around their lower limbs. Yet another “awww” from me there.
At the beginning of the movie, Robyn is seen taming a group of camels – the size difference between Wasikowska and Beast is brilliantly effective; as she reaches up to stroke one, it is like classic mouse against elephant. To be honest, any scene with Diggity or the camels in was sweet. If the huge beasts weren’t growling with tiredness at Robyn, then Diggity was hopping around her with her tongue hanging out.
If you’re an animal lover, I have no doubt you will enjoy this movie due to the natural, animal undercurrent it flows with.
Although the soundtrack used for the movie was dream-like, slightly graceful, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like without music – or at least having very minimal music.
The composers add nicely to the atmosphere of Tracks, the right style playing at the right moment. But I just wonder if the on-screen events would have been more effective without. I suppose if you remove any music you run the risk of the movie mirroring a reality TV show.
So what would be better – ‘this is actually happening’? Or ‘this is a movie’?
I loved her alarm clock.
The whole concept of Robyn waking up in the desert to a ringing clock was bizarre, otherworldly – mixing home life with no life. As the sun rises over an infinite horizon, an alarm clock pierces the morning air..
No houses, no other people, no life at all – you are alone on barren land as if walking across the surface of another planet.. and your alarm clock starts ringing out as you look across the horizon. Mad. But effective, and I enjoyed the contrasting element it gave the movie. Like a bathroom tap on a car dashboard, having an everyday object removed from its usual location and placed out of context is just – well – random!
I’m not ruining anything here (you can see for yourselves in the trailer Robyn kissing Rick) by telling you our female protagonist indulges in a spot of ‘sexy time’ with her photographer.
For Christ sake.
I’ve only just mentioned this is my review for Divergent, how every time the female jumps on the male I wonder WHY. Why she has to get her nuts in – why she has to get some male attention – why she can’t just get on with what she’s supposed to be doing.
Robyn and Rick kiss.
..the next scene sees dawn rising and a furry leg sticking out from underneath her makeshift bed.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not an uber-religious Christian or anything – I enjoy a bit of shafting as much as the next person; it just pisses me off why people naturally feel the need to bang each other – especially when they hardly know each other.
Perhaps its the humidity. I mean Christ, I lived in southern France for a few years and the heat got me all frisky – I was wanking like a trooper on my lunch breaks I tell you! We never had any kitchen roll left.
Robyn’s journey sees her meet a variety of incredible human beings.
From a tribe of spiritual Aborigines, to the elderly couple she comes across who invite her in “for tea” – it is all very endearing, and actually quite beautiful.
The Aborigine man – named Mr. Eddie – who helps her cross a sacred desert is adorable; his language is extremely limited but he and Robyn manage to communicate with physical gestures.
A split-second scene sees Mr. Eddie dancing like a fool in front of the camels – Robyn lays watching him, laughing. This was such a pure scene, a moment which showed the humans being themselves in a dangerous situation (crossing the desert) – I liked this. It was wonderful to see two strangers from two completely different walks (pun intended) of life brought together and embarking on such a mission.
In a sense, it was the whole feeling of freedom which most gripped me; like being at Glastonbury festival (England) where anyone is everyone and people from all different backgrounds come together and interact with the same feeling of unity.
Adam Driver – Rick Smolan
Roly Mintuma – Mr. Eddie
Darcy Crouch – Tolly
Daisy Walkabout – Ada
Felicity Steel – Gladdy
Tim Rogers – Glendie
Carol Burns – Mrs. Ward
Bryan Probets – Geoff
John Flaus – Sallay
Robert Coleby – Pop
Lily Pearl – Young Robyn
Melanie Zanetti – Annie
Rainer Bock – Kurt Posel
Jessica Tovey – Jenny
Emma Booth – Marg
Tracks is a beautiful piece of cinema. In every sense; the acting, the scenery, the sense of freedom and compassion throughout. It is all quite lovely.
My personal opinion: I couldn’t sit through it again. Mainly because I know what happens and there would be nothing to look forward to, in fact everyone knows what happens BEFORE they even see it. The poster says it all.
The overall emotion of Tracks should be captured just the once – and then left alone. This isn’t a movie you should stick on repeat; because the feeling may dissolve.. watch it once or twice, feel its message – love it – and then leave it.
Mia Wasikowska gives a brilliant performance as Robyn Davidson, radiating a mixed bag of emotions and bringing a natural flair as she slides effortlessly into the character. I couldn’t think of a better Aussie actress to fill the spot. Well done, Mia.