Autumn 2014 Features series
Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 4:00pm
Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 7:00pm
Directed by John Curran
Screenplay by Marion Nelson
Based on the book by Robyn Davidson
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, and Melanie Zanetti
Rated PG ·
English and Aboriginal
In 1977, a twenty-seven-year-old Australian woman named Robyn Davidson set out from Alice Springs to walk 2,700 kilometres of harsh desert to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied only by her dog and four camels, Davidson yearned for a solitary journey of self-discovery, and had no ambition other than to reach the ocean. She ultimately wrote about her desert adventure in her 1980 book Tracks, which became a cult favourite around the world and has now been beautifully adapted for the big screen by director John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore).
Robyn (Mia Wasikowska, Only Lovers Left Alive, Jane Eyre, The Kids Are All Right) spends two hardscrabble years in the Alice Springs area learning how to train and care for camels (feral herds of which number in the thousands in Western Australia) in order to prepare for the epic trek. Finally ready to embark on her journey, she realizes she is woefully underfunded and, despite her desire for self-sufficiency, accepts a fee from National Geographic in exchange for a written feature on her travels. The magazine adds a condition: she must allow photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha) to photograph her at selected stops along the way.
As adapted by Marion Nelson, Tracks captures two arduous journeys: Robyn making her way slowly through the outback, and her (arguably more perilous) inner search. The motivation behind her decision to test her limits, and the reasons for her preference for animals over people, are subtly revealed during the chronicle of the arduous crossing.
Curran casts the harsh, red-baked land as much more than just Robyn’s antagonist—at different points it woos her, threatens her, comforts her, steals from her, and submits to her, and we feel privileged to share the journey.
“Alternately haunting, inspiring and dreamily meditative, this is a visually majestic film of transfixing moods and textures.” (David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter)
“Anchored by a fine and flinty performance from Mia Wasikowska, director John Curran’s gorgeously rendered adventure saga succeeds not only in capturing the harshness and wild beauty of Davidson’s journey, but also in mapping a delicate interior pathway into the heart of this most atypical explorer.” (Justin Chang, Variety)