John Grant, a bonded teacher, arrives in a rough outback mining town planning to stay overnight before starting his holiday. But one night stretches to several and with the aid of alcohol he plunges headlong toward his own destruction.
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century."
Jean François Heckel,
Wake in Fright is the story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But his one night stretches to five and he plunges headlong toward his own destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a rifle with one bullet left... Written by
It is likely that the town of Bundanyabba is based on Broken Hill in NSW, the town where much was filmed. The train is seen arriving at Bundanyabba Sulphide St station, and Sulphide St is a genuine station in Broken Hill. Broken Hill is one of the most isolated inland city in Australia. See more »
After arriving and checking into his room Grant goes for a drink in a hotel. It has interior notices saying "The Miners Hotel". This is where he meets Jock the Policeman. But a little later people are seen to be playing poker or slot machines which were not at that time in hotels. They also have to stand for "The Oath", a ritual only held at RSL Returned Servicemans clubs. Finally they are seen leaving the Imperial Hotel to walk across to the two up game for a feed. See more »
The aim of what you call civilisation is a man in a smokin' jacket, whiskey and soda, pressing a bottom... button, to destroy a planet a billion miles away, and kill a billion people he's never seen.
See more »
It's been said: "The best film ever made about Australia was directed by a Canadian." Possibly true. "Outback/Wake in Fright" is one of those films which gets a little too close for comfort. Unlike most Australians, those of us who grew up in the country will recognise a lot in this film, not always with displeasure.
What a strange, malleable career Ted Kotcheff has had. Of late he has retired to the relative comfort of making TV movies and even contributed to "Law and Order SVU". Yet like Nicolas Roeg ("Walkabout"), Kotcheff's brief spot of work in Australia was a wake-up call to a blinkered urban population (or those that went to the movies at any rate) to the complexity of the outback, in all its bloody glory, dispensing with the romantic pills we were used to swallowing. Kenneth Cook's novel should be held in equal regard, but his writing doesn't get much press these days, which is a shame.
Television prints of this film - rarely shown these days - heavily censor the kangaroo kills, which says a lot about the hypocrisy of the city. Uncut version is essential viewing.
25 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?