Movie Review –Tracks (2013)
In this Australian film, based on true events from the mid-late 1970s, we follow the adventures of a young woman named Robyn, who decides to travel without other humans across the Australian desert, 1700 miles, with 4 camels that she must train and with her loving dog. It takes Robyn a long time in remote central Australian to gather the resources to prepare for her trek, and acquire and train the camels, but when she is ready to go, her adventure becomes something much larger than she could have possibly realized.
This was a fascinating adventure-drama, and it was truly successful on many levels. Firstly, the main character of Robyn was played to perfection by actor Mia Wasikowska. She is able to beautifully express so many of Robyn’s feelings and inner fears, which are based on some complex life experiences. This film is all about using less words and more visuals to tell the story. This makes sense, given the purpose of Robyn’s adventure was in large part a way for her to get away from people, and be alone with herself. Wasikowska’s talent in this role, which often consisted of nuanced emotions communicated to the audience with less verbal dialogue than normal, was effective and unique.
Secondly, the film’s score is absolutely beautiful. The music flows perfectly with the characters’ tales and more importantly with the beautiful cinematography of the movie, as we see small rural towns, desolate plains, grasslands, and sandy deserts.
And this brings us to the third main point, the cinematography. The visuals in this film, inspired by the photographs of National Geographic photographer Kurt who met up with Robyn several times during the trip, are stunning. The film’s crew has done an incredible job at putting together beautiful shots of the Australian desert and countryside, and they bring you right into the adventure itself, making you feel you are on this trek with Robyn. We get up close visuals with the setting, with the land, and with the camels as well, and it truly is a breathtaking movie. The film focuses not on large amounts of dialogue, but rather on imagery and visualization to bring home a powerful message for the audience.
Some have criticized that the film did move a little bit slowly in parts. However, this may be a good fit considering this was a movie about camels and deserts, where the trek across the desert took nine months. It makes sense that it is a slow moving film, consistent with the beautiful soundtrack, cinematography, and storytelling. Overall, this was a great film, and it made me want to pull out a map of Australia and the National Geographic article from the late 1970s that was written after the real life adventure was over!
Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.