After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.
- (as Slim De Grey)
Raw introduction to Australian outback life
You can't help admiring many aspects of this confronting movie. The use of light is inspired. Fantastic colour too. Some brilliant camera angles, and some advanced editing techniques. It conveys the heat of the outback, the dust of the towns, the sweat of everybody. Great actors, truly, really great. The story itself is fairly straightforward. It's the odd touches that are memorable. A receptionist dousing herself with water. A drunk man registering that some food in his pocket needs to be in the fridge, so he just stuffs the entire jacket into the freezer. The occasional flashback of a girlfriend, miles away in a seemingly enchanted world, coming out of the surf at Bondi. A slow pan of a lonely outback railway stop. A rabbit turned into lunch. I listened to an interview with the Director, whom claimed this movie is about the human condition that we are all capable of being our worst imagined selves, as well as our best, and as such the movie was not commentary on Australian males of that time, but more about a stranger in a strange land. That's probably true. In my experience (I've stayed in country towns), the film was a fairly accurate description of country blokes' obsession with beer on the weekends, and I was impressed with how the movie shows how truly vulnerable a single guy from the city can be in such an insistent culture. I also liked the way in which Wake In Fright never quite passes judgement by making anyone evil or aloof in any way. The protagonist does try to be civil, and he is honest, so he's not really to blame for the adventures that follow. Similarly the guys he encounters are not out to corrupt or have fun at his expense. They are all genuinely just out to enjoy the weekend, and, in their own peculiar fashion, they are all being generous. The soundtrack is impressive too. I'll concede that it sounds a little old-fashioned and 1960s, similar to the horror movies of that time, but the sounds are nevertheless a very fine example of that vogue. Indeed, Wake In Fright is a very fine example of gritty outback drama. I don't remember seeing it in its day, I only saw it today. Wake In Fright certainly has power. I'm looking forward to checking out the TV series. Cheers!
- Jun 6, 2019
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