Western Australia, 1931. Government policy includes taking half-white, half-Aboriginal children from their Aboriginal mothers and sending them a thousand miles away to what amounts to indentured servitude, "to save them from themselves." Molly, Daisy, and Grace (two sisters and a cousin who are fourteen, ten, and eight) arrive at their Gulag and promptly escape, under Molly's lead. For several days they walk north, following a fence that keeps rabbits from settlements, eluding a native tracker and the regional constabulary. Their pursuers take orders from the government's "Chief Protector of Aborigines", A.O. Neville, blinded by Anglo-Christian certainty, evolutionary world view, and conventional wisdom. Can the girls survive?Written by
When the phone rang at Director Phillip Noyce's house in Los Angeles, California at 3 a.m. in July 1999, he thought it was an emergency and answered it. It wasn't. It was Screenwriter Christine Olsen. Noyce recalled: "There was this strange Australian female voice on the other end of the phone announcing she had the perfect script for which I was the perfect director, and I said to her I get so many people who ring and tell me that every week, but most of them do it in the middle of the day. I told her to ring back tomorrow or the next day at my office." Noyce doubted she'd call again. But she did, and she sent the script. See more »
Far into the story the film shows the view from Mr. Neville's office window, allowing us to see a few applicants. Among those is a couple whose application had been rejected early in the story by Mr. Neville. Obviously the same set served different scenes that were far apart in time. See more »
Few films have garnered so much applause (from critics and public alike) with so little. The plot of "Rabbit Proof Fence" can be found elsewhere on this website. Suffice it to say it's about three girls walking and walking and walking and walking and....across some of the most visually austere country on the planet; the Aussie outback. There's little story behind the film, zilch for Hollywood tinsel, and a minimal cast of relative unknowns (except for Branagh's small role). It would be easy to make the case that this film is one long boring flick. However, it would also be easy to make the case it is a beautifully filmed story of courage, determination, and the triumph of the human spirit. I would argue the latter. (B+)
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