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
Production designer Roger Ford noted that he used the Australian landscape as a color palette. He said: "The colors trickle through so that the people and events are grounded in the landscape." The Jigalong set was located just east of Leigh Creek in outback South Australia. Here, the shearers' quarters from Moolooloo sheep station were converted into the Jigalong Depot, with the rabbit-proof fence running along one side. Ford was concerned they would have to put in several kilometers of fence, but found them in a lot of great landscapes. In fact, the longest stretch they had to build was six hectometers (656 yards, 5 3/4 inches). 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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