Tracks Review

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Mia Wasikowska gives a powerful performance in ‘Tracks’, as Robyn Davidson, a young woman bent on a solitary, 2700 km epic trek across Australia’s Simpson Desert––a trek that would unwittingly capture the attention of the international press. This film will reignite the nomadic spirit in all of us at a time when the Earth has fewer and fewer wild places left to explore.

Day 2 of the the 70th Venice Film Festival featured the world premiere of “Tracks”, the much anticipated movie adaptation of Robyn Davidson’s best selling memoir of the same name. Robyn Davidson, the original nomad, attended the press conference with star, Mia Wasikowska, Director John Curran (Stone, The Painted Veil) and producers Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech) and Julie Ryan (Red Dog). Robyn said she was initially hesitant when she met Mia, because she seemed fragile. However, once she saw her first fearless interactions with camels, Robyn knew Mia could carry the role. In their very next meeting, Mia had transformed herself into an extension of young Robyn. Although the book and story are well known in Australia, this extraordinary film depicting Davidson’s 1977 odyssey will reach a new international audience. Mia Wasikowska says she was terrified to meet Robyn Davidson but that quickly changed and she was very happy that this movie brought her back to her Australian roots.

Robyn confesses that during the nine month course of her epic travels she would undergo an incredible personal transformation influenced by her solitude, the harsh realities of the journey and the magnificent landscape. All of this is powerfully captured through the lens of cinematographer Mandy Walker, under the careful direction of John Curran. Mia Wasikowska gives the most astonishing portrayal of this young woman; physically, spiritually and mentally immersed in the role. Robyn Davidson intended this journey to be one she would do completely alone, without relying on anyone, and without companionship other than her dog Diggity and her camels. This would prove to be an impossible task. As the story unfolds, we begin to understand this young woman’s intense discomfort around people and to recognize some of the demons she is wrestling with. Her sheer strength of purpose, courage and determination in overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles just to set out on her journey is truly inspirational.

Adam Driver (Girls) portrays National Geographic photographer, Rick Smolan who was instrumental in helping Robyn find funding for her expedition, although she was reluctant to pursue this route. Rick became a great friend whose love and support would mean her salvation. The Aboriginal Australian actors in the film are pivotal to the story, bringing a great sensitivity to the balance between humans, the spiritual world and nature. Tracks is truly a rare and deeply affecting movie based on the screenplay by Marion Nelson. This is the 5th attempt to make the book in to a movie and the producers confessed they had to wait until Disney dropped its rights to go forward. Tracks plays next at TIFF. This is a film to put on your must see list. Expect buzz at awards time.

Moira Romano

Shown at TIFF13 : Toronto International Film Festival and the 70th Venice Film Festival (La Biennale di Venezia)

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