By Liz Lopez
It is very hard to believe that 1975 is almost 40 years ago, but in that year a young adult woman, Robyn Davidson, began a journey of a lifetime across Australia. Although the story of her 1,700 mile travels was featured in the National Geographic magazine in March 1978, it was not a story that I followed at the time. Director John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore) brings Davidson’s story to the big screen titled Tracks, featuring Mia Wasikowska portraying the young woman traveling alone with her beloved black dog, Diggity, and four camels.
Wasikowska’s performance is impressive as she portrays someone who is ready to leave humans and established society behind to enjoy the solitude of traveling with the bare necessities and making do with what she encounters along the way.
The exact reason for Davidson to make the journey is not exactly spelled out in the film. At the beginning of the film, she has already set out with plans to learn about camels. There are flashback scenes to her childhood where the viewer learns of family issues and actions that can be interpreted as creating emotional trauma. This may be how she started to learn to distance herself from others – but the viewer is not told.
The one person whom she coincidentally meets after she has initiated her trek and allows into her world sporadically is the National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver). He offers to find some funding back in the U. S. and does so, with the stipulation that he photographs her along the way. Driver may not be a leading man in films, yet I do enjoy his interpretation of the different characters, including most recently as Phillip in This is Where I Leave You and Al Cody alongside Oscar Isaac in the film Inside Llewyn Davis.
Fellow cast members include Rainer Bock, Rolley Mintuma, John Flaus and Robert Coleby, among others. The film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some partial nudity, disturbing images and brief strong language.
The 102 minute based on Davidson’s book is not an action thriller, but the script written by Marion Nelson does include many interesting scenes that captures the author’s efforts to move forward in her venture. I admire what Davidson did for herself without giving anyone any explanation. She just went for what she set out to do and accomplished it.
The film can be viewed at the Regal Arbor Cinema.
Source: The Weinstein Company