Mia Wasikowska gives a windswept, organic central performance in this walkabout film that stays light on its feet while sidestepping many of the pseudo-spiritual pitfalls these types of self-discovery adaptations tend to take. She plays Robyn Davidson, an Australian woman who in 1977 set out with her dog Digitty – and four camels whom she had personally trained – to walk from Alice Springs to the western coast, a journey of roughly 1700 miles.
She tells us she’s sick of the pessimism of her class, sex and generation. We also learn that she lost her mum. To fund her trip she accepts a deal with National Geographic for a concluding article on her journey and for a photographer (played by rising star Adam Driver) to join her at certain points along the way. He seems to represent everything she’s trying to escape and yet, the two form a bond.
Expressing such raw, free-spirited emotion in an often populist and, let’s be honest, capitalist medium can prove awfully tricky. Pretension lurks at every corner, yet director John Curran looks to have pulled it off. He keeps things grounded and natural while capturing all the skin tones, hues and shades of his native outback. Worth the journey.
Tracks (Spuren) | Directed by John Curran (AUS, 2014) with Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver. Starts April 10
Originally published in issue#126 April, 2014