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(I) (2013)

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9/10
An experience that assumes a dreamlike and spiritual aura
Howard Schumann4 November 2013
Poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman said, "The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun struck hills every day." One such high-spirited thoroughbred is Australian naturalist Robyn Davidson who, at the age of 27, crossed the Australian outback in 1977 from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with only four camels and her dog as companions. Nominated for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, Director John Curran's Tracks documented Davidson's nine-month journey of 1677 miles without adding layers of melodrama to distract us from her true spirit of adventure and love of nature.

Based on Robyn Davidson's classic travel book of the same name and supported by the extraordinary cinematography of Mandy Walker and the lovely score by Garth Stevenson, the film follows Robyn as she travels solo across the unfathomable desert. Sponsored by National Geographic magazine, photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) was chosen by the magazine to photograph her journey for the magazine, but only meets up with her at scattered points during her trip. Davidson at first finds Rick annoyingly over-talkative, but slowly warms to his support and caring and they become friends, while still keeping their distance.

Not much information is given as to Robyn's motivations in undertaking this adventure, but the film does provide flashbacks over the course of the film informing us about events in the naturalist's past involving loss and disappointment. In some ways, comparable to Chris McCandless' odyssey as documented in Sean Penn's 2007 film Into the Wild, Robyn's goal is to convince herself that she is up to the task of following her own path without having to conform to society's expectations. In spite of her need for solitude, however, she learns to compromise with friends and reach an understanding with visiting journalists looking for a story, even though at one point she says to a resident of the desert, "It's hard to explain that I just want perfectly nice people to shut up and die." Though Robyn does her best to avoid the unwanted company, she eventually recognizes her need for support from others, not only from Rick, but also from an Aboriginal elder named Eddy (Roly Mintuma), who accompanies her to make sure that she avoids the Aboriginal's sacred land. Mia Wasikowska as Davidson perfectly captures the sharp edges of her enigmatic personality while still retaining her adamant refusal to be the effect of her social limitations. It is a strong performance that may earn her consideration for a Best Actress award at the 2014 Oscars.

Though some viewers may become restless with the unchanging landscape and the lack of overt drama, obstacles do appear in the form of wild bull camels charging towards her and the need for her to take a 160 mile detour to avoid Aboriginal lands. While Tracks has a surprising amount of clutter for an adventure into the wild, as Davidson comes closer to her goal, the growing quiet and emptiness of the vast outback turns her journey into an experience that assumes a dreamlike and spiritual aura.

Through it all, her fierce determination to accomplish her goal while still retaining her sense of self grows stronger. Davidson in a recent interview said that "At the time, all young people pretty much wanted to do extraordinary things and extend the limits of what had been given to them as their roles." Poet e e cummings agrees, saying, "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battles which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting." That is the legacy of Robyn Davidson.
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8/10
A Visually Stunning, Superbly Acted Film
freemantle_uk31 May 2014
Tracks is a film that was over 30 years in the making with actresses like Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts being attached to the project. Lead by Mia Wasikowska, Tracks is an interesting, thematic character study.

In the mid-seventies, Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska) is a determined young woman who leaves the big city behind for Alice Springs in the middle of Australia. She plans to raise money and gain skills before attempting to cross the Australian deserts to the Indian Ocean: a journey of 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometres). With sponsorship from National Geographic, she sets off with her dog and four camels and meets American photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) at various points on her journey.

Wasikowska gives a fantastic, compelling performance as a young determined woman who puts herself through a massive physical and mental toll. She is a character who is uncomfortable with modern society, and everyone she meets, from her friends to hardened outback men, think she is mad for wanting to take such a dangerous journey.

Robyn is a character who has to negotiate for everything she wants to complete her journey and she is determined to do it her own way. She is in the shadow of her father who was himself an explorer and disappeared in Australian wilderness. Robyn is haunted by her past as she has flashbacks during her journey about the various tragedies of her life.

Some of the best moments in Tracks are when Robyn is all alone in the wild, giving Wasikowska a fantastic opportunity to show off her a talents, as she goes through the emotional stresses she endures. She is believable as she treks through the hostile environment, battling for survival and doing for her the unimaginable, including shooting wildlife and having to discipline her camels.

As she progresses on her journey her sense of reality is questioned, affected by both her isolation and the hot, physical environment. This is amplified by the direction of John Curran, who adds to the surreal nature of these sequences and the fantastic cinematography by Mandy Walker, who truly highlights the beautiful landscape while still showing it as hot, dry and harsh.

The main focus of Tracks is Robyn's personal journey yet it still looks at some wider issues particularly the treatment of Aboriginal people. This theme is prevalent throughout the film, starting early as one Aboriginal person suffers racial abuse, and keeps going as Aboriginal people are seen living in poverty or gawked at by tourists. Even people who have good intentions are disrespectful of their traditions. Robyn ends up being a character who has more affinity with the Aboriginal people and fellow loners and outsiders than with mainstream society.

Tracks is in keeping with films about outsiders looking for a purpose in their lives, like Into the Wild. It is a brilliantly acted film blessed with excellent visuals and themes to easily sink your teeth into.

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10/10
"Tracks" - an authentic, beautiful film
LifeVsArt29 April 2014
After reading the book "Tracks", I found it difficult to imagine anyone being able to transfer it properly to cinema. Well, it took them years to do it, but thankfully they've achieved what seemed almost impossible. I saw "Tracks" yesterday and I found it truly moving. It's a beautiful film - not just in its transporting cinematography and landscapes, but beautiful for its truthfulness, its honesty. "Tracks" is both sublimely poetic and ruggedly authentic - it's emotionally raw. I didn't find one false note in the movie - no melodrama or stereotype characters that you see in most Hollywood films. Mia Wasikowska's performance demonstrates that old line from Keats, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" - it's a great performance - the epitome of soulful. The journey is as much her character's internal coming to terms with herself and the world, as it is the external journey, but nothing is spoon-fed to the audience. The film is psychological and spiritual and the landscapes and the actions reflect the central character's shedding of burdens and confronting herself in a naked environment - it's universal, but profoundly personal. One reviewer described it as "achingly beautiful", having now seen "Tracks", I feel that's an apt description. I think director John Curran and everyone involved in making the film has pulled off an extremely challenging project and have created something of lasting value. Congratulations.
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8/10
Very good Australian adventure-drama
Red-Barracuda29 April 2014
Tracks is the true story of Robyn Davidson, a 27 year old woman from Brisbane who in 1977 decided to embark on a 1,677 mile trek from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, crossing the Australian outback. She did it mainly alone, aside from four camels and a faithful dog. She was helped a little by a photographer who organised financial backing for her trip from National Geographic magazine and with whom she had brief romantic involvement on her trip, while she was also assisted on the way by some Aboriginals who guided her though sacred lands of theirs. The trip in total took nine months.

This is one of those movies where the adventure itself is used as a means of the lead character exploring themselves as well as the more literal physical journey. Davidson endures both physical and psychological hardships along the way. While she never really goes into any detail as to why she is impelled to embark on her journey, we understand from various dream-like flashbacks that her mother committed suicide when she was an infant and this event has gone some way into shaping her the way she is. She is a loner and very self-contained but her subsequent adventure makes her realise more fully in the importance of others and that relying and respecting other folks is no bad thing and her own personal goals should at the very least be offset against these aspects.

Mia Wasikowska is very good as Davidson, she is quite believable in the role in a way that a lot of other actresses would not be, while Adam Driver also makes a mark as the photographer who is a little annoying but essentially a good person. The dramatics are fairly sparse here though because ultimately this is a film about solitude to a large extent. Consequently, a lot of the focus is on the landscape, terrain and animals. The excellent photography is very effective here in capturing both the beauty but also the harsh arid nature of this world. And the camels and dog are elevated to important and lovable characters and are also photographed very well. It should also be pointed out here that Wasikowska really seems to have put herself in some danger with her up and close interactions with some pretty scary mouth-frothing camels. This is clearly a role she committed herself to fully.

I always think that the Australian outback is such a cinematic place and its long flat horizons are particularly well suited to the widescreen frame – think Walkabout (1971), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) or the more conventional recent Mystery Road (2013). It's specific combination of untamed nature, enigmatic indigenous people, functional isolated settlements and the western world close but so far away is a concoction that is unusual and ensures that Australian films set in the outback do often have their own unique feeling. Tracks is another in this type and it is appealing for all of these reasons. It, of course, has the added advantage of being a true story which always lends something extra. I'm not sure if you could exactly describe it as a travelogue picture though, as aside from brief sequences featuring the likes of Uluru, its landscape is far more harsh and arid and not precisely what you would describe as beautiful. Because of this, it feels like an authentic depiction of the real event. It's a quite minimalistic example of the biopic and a very good one.
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8/10
Quiet but profound
Neil Welch23 May 2014
Robyn (Mia Wasikowska) arrives in Alice Springs, determined to make the 1,700 mile journey to Australia's west coast on foot across the desert, accompanied by camels and her dog. This film tells of her preparation and the outcome of her journey.

Despite the fact that it is often leisurely in the telling of Robyn's true story and that Robyn is, for much of the running time, the only person on screen, it is never less than engaging. We get some idea of what drove Robyn to undertake this project (although there is no glib, clear explanation of her motivations), and we meet some of the people she encountered (and one of the enjoyable elements in this film is the development of National Geographical photographer Rick (Adam Driver) - truly annoying when we first meet him, by the end he is much more in tune with what Robyn's objectives have been).

Mia Wasikowska is very good in this gently moving film, but the real stars of this beautifully photographed story are the Australian desert and the camels.

There is a small amount of dramatically justifiable bad language and some animal upset involved.
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4/10
Not as great as I expected.
Robin Sturrus1 February 2016
The movie has quite a high rating, so I was excited about seeing it. Similar movies like Into The Wild and Walk appealed to me, so I gave this one a go.

Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. The movie is about a 1700 mile journey alone through the desert, yet she's hardly ever alone in the movie. The shots are so focused on her that you don't get the sense of scale of the journey she's undertaking and it hardly ever seems like she's in any real trouble. All in all, during the movie I did not see what made the journey so tough.

Then there's the character herself. In my eyes, there's not enough background to understand her reasoning for undertaking such a significant journey. She just 'wants to'. The relationship between Robyn and the photographer also seems to come out of nowhere.

The acting by Mia is proper for what she has to do. The same goes for other main characters.

I feel like the movie shows just half of the important things, or just misses the sense of grandness, if you will, to make it spectacular. And for that reason, I was quite disappointed and will only award "Tracks" with 4*.
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8/10
Great film, it will drive you.
stan k17 August 2014
Tracks follows other films about individuals pushing limits and seeking purpose and adventure. It is tastefully and cleverly executed with talented performance by the lead Mia Wasikowska.

Two short points about this movie.

1) It is exceptional for its ability to draw you into the journey across the desert. Some of the hallucinations etc are tedious but necessary to fill gaps as there are not many characters. The cinematography does the desert and journey justice.

2) In a largely male dominated genre finally a female inspires as the lead character of a adventure story.
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9/10
There is more to the desert than meets the eye.
bigmystery2327 April 2014
I had been very excited about this movie after seeing the trailer. The story is exhilarating and after watching movies like "Into the Wild" and "127 Hours," I was waiting to see what was in store. As I sat down in my seat to see this at the San Francisco Film Festival I decided to erase all anticipation of the movie and just sit. The lights dimmed down, the audience shuffled into comfortable positions, and then began the movie. Almost two hours passed, and the film's credits began. The audience sat in their seats, myself included. We were mesmerized by John Curran's adaptation, Mia Wasikowska's tremendous performance, and Mandy Walker's impeccably/beautifully captured imagery. What stood out to me the most, though, was the perspectives of isolation and companionship. Marion Nelson did a fantastic job at taking the elements of the autobiography that gave us those perspectives, and as we watched Mia struggle through the desert with her four camels, dog, and occasionally the photographer (played by a genuine Adam Driver), we all began to understand her points of views in life as well as ourselves. So much motif was done with the desert, which I have to applaud John Curran for doing. I will be seeing this film again when it is released, and I hope you will too!
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7/10
Starry Night
clarkj-565-1613368 June 2014
The scenes I enjoyed the most in this movie were the star shots. Imagine you are sleeping in the outback, and the sky is ablaze with the southern constellations. No matter where you are, there is a star right straight above you; you are not alone.

Being alone is an important theme to Robyn Davidson. We are told by back story that her mother committed suicide at an early age. We are also told that her father wandered all around East Africa prospecting. She is forced to live with her aunt and her beloved dog is put down. The first lines in the movie tell us that movement and change are important to Robyn. Think of a gyroscope. As long as it is spinning, it can provide accurate navigational information. Stop spinning, and it goes out of control.

Travelling with camels also makes sense. Symbolically camels are independent, tough, resourceful and most of all they can go for long periods without the essentials of life. So for Robyn going for long periods with no human contact mimics the camels lack of certain essentials as well. Like her father, she has an instinct for the bush and finds herself at home in that environment. You get the feeling that she could find her way even without her dad's Brunton compass. Also she is able to bond with a whole variety of creatures from wild camels, aboriginals and bushmen. She respects the ways and habits of the people she meets.

This movie has wonderful shots of the outback and the incredible variety of people and places that present themselves. As many adventures do, it has a huge physical as well as psychological component. The acting is well done, there is not an excess of emotion or drama, but Mia and Adam do an excellent job of showing us that there is lots going on underneath it all, which fits exactly.
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6/10
An OK film based on a great true story
cinematic_aficionado28 April 2014
The true story of Robyn Davidson's adventure and her crossing of a 1,700 mile across the Australian wilderness.

Whilst it is undoubtedly an amazing feat to be able to achieve this, the sheer remarkableness of this achievement is not conveyed in this film properly. Had we not been aware that this is based on a true story, judging by the film alone one could go so far as to say this was a relatively 'easy' task. The isolation she faced, starvation and dehydration are hardly presented. Instead she seemed to often interact with people who helped her.

At the same time, the stunning landscapes, the might of her determination as well as her complete dependency on the camels and a dog is adequately portrayed.

Overall, this is a mixed bag of impressions. A good film overall, but it deserved to be great.
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9/10
An adventure taken at walking pace
Adam Peters7 September 2014
(89%) A realistic, non-Hollywood adventure drama featuring a brilliant starring role from Mia Wasikowska, and beyond fantastic direction and location work. This maybe is one of the best looking and well shot movies of the year as the screen fills with the harsh yet wonderful outback as the colours of the sand covered landscape dominates everything. The pace will be too slow for the impatient, or those fed on a diet of MTV style garbage cinema with cuts every 2 seconds, but those that are able to immerse themselves into this stunning, simple, and superbly well-made near two hour trip to Australia will be rewarded with a film that is both poignant and magical. A highly recommended alluring marvel that's worth every penny tracking down, especially on the big screen.
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7/10
The technical elements John Curran has implemented here are the standout
Likes_Ninjas904 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Australian films and filmmakers often possess high attention to detail because they are not bound by genre constrictions that force them to sacrifice realism. Verisimilitude was pivotal in telling Australian Robyn Davidson's story about her journey across the desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. This journey in the 1970s is said to have been a 2700km trek. It took Davidson two years of training beforehand to learn how to work with camels. She walked four of them with her, along with her dog Diggity. Davidson was just twenty-seven when making the trip. Two years later, she wrote about her experiences in her book Tracks, from which the film is adapted. She is now sixty-five and has resisted a film version for years, which highlights the importance of the project's authenticity.

Reading the troubled history of bringing this story to the cinema, it's apparent as to why she was hesitant. At one point during the early 1990s, the film was going to be an American production developed by Disney and starring Julia Roberts but the deal fell through. Perhaps this is what would later become Roberts' own star vehicle Eat Pray Love. Tracks now has an American director at its helm but it's not someone who is foreign to the story or country. Director John Curran (The Painted Veil) was working in Manhattan before he moved to Sydney in the 1980s. He had previously made the Australian film Praise here. He is a strong choice for a film primarily about landscapes and terrain because he studied illustrations and design art at Syracuse University in New York. To prepare for the design of this film he considered the work of Australian artists such as Fred Williams and Sidney Nolan, both of whom focused on crafting images and paintings of the dry outback landscapes.

The technical elements John Curran has implemented here are the standout. The film is at once strikingly beautiful but also hot, arid and dangerous. It was photographed by cinematographer Mandy Walker (Australia) on location in the South Australian deserts and in the Northern Territory. The landscapes offer a contrast between being both isolating and peaceful but physically damaging. Curran captures this through two cameras, using overhead shots to photograph beautiful sunsets and the tough sand, while moving the frame in tighter to specify images, like the terrible sunburn on the top of Robyn's shoulders. Davidson herself is said to have a great memory for tiny details that she can recall long after the journey. The film is dedicated, to a fault, to preserving these images. It needed more editing. As glorious as it is to look at, the film is self-indulgent. It lingers over its most beautiful qualities, sometimes at the expense of the narrative, particularly in the saggy final quarter.

First time screenwriter Marion Nelson's script emphasises facts and characterisation over tight plotting and wins on authenticity. The film's representation of Robyn Davidson is true. She was said to be bitter, angry and unfriendly, particularly to the American photographer Rick Smolan. He helped convince the National Geographic Magazine to sponsor her journey and it was him to whom she shared a brief romance. She was also reeling from her mother who had hung herself when she was just eleven. The film intercuts flashbacks to Robyn's home life, presenting the suicide as fragmented, fleeting memories of grief. Robyn Davidson has stressed the journey was about independence and freedom, which is understandable and admirable for a woman in this period. Yet death in the film seems to be as big a motive for Robyn even if it's not underlined. The story isn't too dissimilar to the story of Christian McCandless, memorably examined in Sean Penn's film Into the Wild. Out of an unhappy home life and looking for adulthood and independence, both removed themselves from materialism and social conformity to engage with the wilderness.

After a range of differing Hollywood films Mia Wasikowska shines with a powerful performance, one of her best, playing Robyn as extremely brittle and antisocial. "How do you tell a nice person to go die in a hole?" she says. Both her face and voice work in tangent to stress her emotional fragility, like her desires to be alone, so the character is balanced to make us care. Adam Driver (Girls, Inside Llewyn Davis) as Rick brings an effortlessly funny and likable charm, regardless of his character's persistence. The inevitability of Robyn's character development might seem conventional but the episodes are true. She did meet an Aboriginal man named Mr. Eddy (played by his relative Rolley Mintuma) who guided her around the desert. Although she demands to be alone, her reassimilation with people, mostly marginalised Aborigines, presses her into respecting their beliefs instead of her own desires. One example is that she cannot open dead animals because it's not a set gender role for her according to Aboriginal traditions. I was invested in these vignettes because Mia Wasikowska convincingly embodies Robyn's angst and growth, even though she takes a while to get there.
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5/10
So-so
grantss22 January 2015
A so-so movie.

The true story of Robyn Davidson who trekked across the Australian desert, from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, in 1977. A journey of about 3,000 kms, accompanied by four camels and a dog.

Great scenery and cinematography. Some interesting moments and tales of survival.

However, just feels dull and pointless. Maybe it is because the trek is voluntary - there is no overarching survival story (her plane didn't crash, she's not trying to escape from a gulag). Also you get the feeling that help is always nearby (due to the National Geographic photographer). So it really doesn't feel like a life-or- death thing.

Maybe it is because survival movies have been done to death over the last few years.

Solid performance by Mia Wasikowska in the lead role. However, I found Adam Driver extremely irritating as the photographer. Or maybe that is how he was meant to be. I found it hard to believe that she would have any romantic feelings for a prat like him.
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7/10
Captures a Moment in Australian History.
madmrox25 October 2014
To be honest at first this movie didn't seem like it would be interesting to sit through for almost 2 hours. A girl walks across the desert with her camels, what's interesting about that? Well if you go into this movie thinking that, you'll come out pleasantly surprised.

At every turn there is something new and unexpected that happens. The challenges that Robyn faced on her journey were incredible. This film was based on a true story and was adapted from a book. Mia Wasikowska's acting was superb, it really took you on a journey. From start to finish this film was visually spectacular. The vast Australian outback was stunning and amazing to see on screen.

I would recommend this film to anyone is up for an inspirational story. 7/10.
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9/10
Tracks: surely I liked the movie, don't know if I liked the story too.
niutta-enrico30 June 2014
Tracks is a unique account of an extraordinary voyage through Western Australia: images bring you to a never-ending land, where you sleep under the stars and do not care for anything but the present moment and the voyage itself.

With fierce sincerity Robyn Davidson (the voyager) shares her deepest feelings, her life and her sorrow with us. Her journal speaks of a haunted soul who seeks relief in crossing an endless amount of desert land.

But what use could be in accomplishing such a task if this doesn't bring you any joy? Robyn never laughs, frequently seems about to destroy herself, rarely smiles. She took herself where girls don't usually go but it seems as if she'd rather be somewhere else, with someone who could take care of her.
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10/10
One Woman's need to get away from everyone that helps her find her need for others.
Jesse Boland24 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie makes up for every bad movie I have had to sit through this month. Absolutely perfect, in story acting, and sound. Robyn's journey is so amazing, and she is just so committed, Mia Wasikowska looks like a tiny child when she begins preparing for this 18,000 mile walk with no one but her dog Diggity, and her 3, and a half camels, but by time she has reached her end she has fully transformed into a strong Woman. The opening pulls you in right away as you follow Robyn as she apprentices as a wild camel herder and learns quite a bit (at first the hard way) which she takes with her. The Aboriginal actors all seemed to want to be part of the telling of this story, and that only added to it's authenticity. Mr. Eddie is brought to life so nicely and comes across as such a good person, as do most every person that Robyn comes across out there. The musical score is so very good, you have such a deep sense of foreboding, such loneliness in the darkest places, and so alive in the brightest spaces. I really Enjoyed this movie quite a bit, and would recommend this movie to anyone. Remember to hydrate, and get ready to be taken on a great journey.

Jesse of Jesse.ca
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3/10
This film was as flat as the Australian outback.
rpiddocke7 January 2015
I really don't know what in this film touched so many reviewers. I waited patiently for some plot, character development or touching moments but got nothing but flat boring pretense.

I suppose the acting was OK but there wasn't much story to act to. I was really hoping the main character would develop over the long journey but seemed about as dry and lifeless as the desert she wandered through.

For some reason Robyn Davidson, who wrote the script, made the photographer Smolan out to be some sappy loser who was somehow stalking her when in actual fact she requested that he photograph her journey when Nat. Geo showed interest. All the flashbacks were just disjointed and contrived. She tries really hard to make herself out as some kind of victim... to what end I never understood. The scene where the reporters charge her in the desert is just absurd.

I decided not to mark this as containing spoilers because for there to be spoilers something interesting would have needed to happen. This story really reminded me about Chris Mccandless, except he seemed to be a genuinely nice person unlike Davidson.
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4/10
Arduous, self-involved and meaningless, much like the protagonist.
IMDB Reviews2 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There are some foolish or self-centered (or both!) people in this world who will do exactly what they want even though the cost of their little adventures may have to be shared by others.

The protagonist here is basically an asocial woman with people issues (not judging so far) who decides to take a suicidal trip into the desert. She obviously doesn't care for her life (which again is perfectly OK). She decides to take her dog along for this borderline suicidal trip, now here I have a problem with her decision. The dog ends up dying quite horribly later on in her little excursion as one might expect. The selfish fool also has a baby camel along with adult camels on her fun little ride.

Watch this film if you want to see the amount of cruelty our race can perpetrate on other species while meaning well and being completely oblivious to the actual harm our actions cause.

The half-wit's adventure was published in Nat Geo, which led to a book, which led to this movie. Basically, society took a person who was essentially an idiot and encouraged her and patted her on the back. Why? Because she did something different and she suffered and got lucky to make it out alive - and we as a society are bored and need to get our thrills vicariously.

There is a point where an Aboriginal man is shamed to walk with her on her meaningless whim of a journey - she may not value her life but the people around her do and are made to pay the price. The man has to accompany her, ironically, so she can take a shorter path and walk less. Another way to walk less would be to pack it in and go home but that doesn't give you any boasting rights. After the walk with the man is done she's ruthless (and selfish - but that's already been established) enough to ask him to accompany her for the rest of the journey.

I guess my problem is with the real life protagonist and to a lesser extent with the people (like those who made this movie) who encouraged her.

Mia Wasikowska is a brilliant brilliant actress and does a bang up job of portraying a troubled recluse, oblivious to the effect her actions have on others. I only wish she had never played this idiot. I wish this movie had never been made.

There is a final scene when the protagonist take a plunge in a deep blue pool of water. I know she went on to make some money out of her adventures but I was still hoping that a pool of hungry sharks would rip her to shreds and put her out of her misery. Alas, her story disappointed me even at the very end and she made it out OK. To walk the world with her head held high because at one point of her life she was very troubled and did something really dumb.
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9/10
Beautiful movie
85122228 October 2014
Greetings from Lithuania.

"Tracks" (2013) is a superb motion picture. Based on true life adventure of Robyn Davidson, it is a wonderfully acted, photographed picture about one womens journey through a desert. If that doesn't sound to engaging, wait until you see this movie. It's superbly paced, at 1h 46 min it doesn't drag a bit. It's cinematography is sometimes breathtaking, as well as performance by Mia Wasikowska.

Overall, 9/10 for "Tracks" - beautifully shoot, wonderfully acted and terrificly paced adventure drama that will leave you inspired. I admire it even more knowing that is based on actual and very true story. Very good picture.
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4/10
"Tracks" is far off the track
Warning: Spoilers
You may be familiar with director John Curran if you have seen his work "The Painted Veil". Screenwriter Marion Nelson has not worked on any well-known projects so far, but that does not have to mean something as many new writers often launch their career with a truly great effort. Unfortunately I would not call "Tracks" the above. Maybe it is just me, but just the way I do not like mountain climber movie, I am also not particularly fond of desert-themed movies. Robyn Davidson's approach here falls for me under the "higher-faster-further"-concept that I do not approve of. I find her approach hypocritical. She says that she does not do it to prove anything to herself, but to prove that anybody can reach anything if they really want to. And then she even writes about it, which puts a huge question mark behind her motivations for this trek. Later she even wrote a book, which for me destroys almost all the non-materialistic reasons she gave for going off to the desert.

However, in starting the journey, she enters an area of the planet where men simply don't belong. As a consequence, kangaroos and camels die just like her dog (though the scene is not as tragic as the one in a certain Will Smith movie). Life is precious. Why would she do these things, only to prove anything to herself or other people? It is embarrassing to watch how she acts like she became one with the nature and the Aborigines. She finds it funny when one of them acts like a wild animal towards tourists, because she knows it is just an act and they are not really this way and the tourists don't. Well the tourists are not the ones who shoot camels, then, on a later occasion, chase them away and only not kill them because they did not move any closer. You can't blame Wasikowska though for Davidson's disgusting choices. Well.. to some extent you probably can as she accepted playing the character. Her performance is solid, though nothing out of the ordinary. Rainer Bock played his part well. Adam Driver, however, has a cheesy love interest role that did not need to be included, even if his character really existed. He does nothing for the movie and his character is completely forgettable. Hopefully things will look different when he shows up as the main villain in the upcoming Star Wars film.

"Tracks" already had a hard time with me before it started due to Davidson's actions. Neither the direction, nor the acting or writing could make up for it. When she reaches her goal, she dives down in the water and I guess this was supposed to be a major emotional moment, but it did not felt like that for me. The only thumbs up I can give this movie is for the great cinematography and landscapes depicted here. But you can see this also in uncountable nature documentaries. Not recommended.
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9/10
Excellent
artimusmaxtor30 June 2014
I would give this movie a 10. However you might think I was a little crazy liking a movie about the desert and camels. lol. This movie also confirms my theory. Some of the best films. Especially Indies. Come out of Australia.

Its a movie that could quite possibly leave tears in your eyes. The camels. Which people see all to little of in their lives. Are so charming and stately.

I think its the solitude of Australia that one could like. That's my opinion. This film has light to medium drama. The woman in this film. The character is a very independent woman. You don't see the likes of a woman of her character often. Since this is based on a true story. That could leave you just a little fascinated with the person this story is about.

Its about a trek across the Australian desert with 4 camels and a dog. Let me note. I do not like foreign films at all. This is different. Its Australian. Looks like they have another winner. Don't miss it.
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1/10
a real yawn - contains spoilers
snookies122425 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't read the book so my movie watching wasn't tainted or supported by that memory. It could have been a really good movie but it was let down by a number of things that I found so irritating, while I watched it, that they drove me crazy! If I hadn't paid money for St George Open Air, I would have left. It is a terrible movie and I felt embarrassed being Australian if this were ever promoted to foreigners.

  • The acting of the main character is horrible. She has the same two expressions throughout the entire movie. Pouty and more pouty. - Cinematography: there is raving about this in other reviews? Jeez, you know what you see? Camels feet then a wide fly in shot to, guess what? More camels feet. Rinse and repeat for the duration. Over and over and over. Camels feet - sky - camels feet - sky ... YAWN. Like a children's show. - At one point she loses her compass and follows the camel tracks backwards to the compass, but then ... you guessed it, she can't find her way back the camels and gets lost. What the? Next, the camels wander off but now she can't find them. Suddenly she can't see camel tracks or what? Who knows. You are left to guess at what might cause the next pouty face. Poor story telling. - Appears to be a blue screen of Uluru. - The movie, in general, totally lacked the colour and depth of the amazing desert and plant life that exists out there. It was clearly filmed on a very low budget in a very small area. It does not showcase the country. Anyone that says it showcases the outback, needs to actually go there themselves and not armchair review. - Not a traveloge, more like pictures from going round and round a large basin. - Narration would have helped the incessantly annoying pouty look.


As for what the book may contain, this movie did not make me want to read it. The character conveyed in the movie was not pleasant or likable and there's no way I'd want to relive anything resembling this experience ever again.

Tragically disappointing for all concerned. I gave it 3 for trying something different.
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4/10
Quite boring! 4/10
leonblackwood24 August 2014
Review: Although the movie is quite deep and meaningful, I couldn't help getting a bit bored with watching someone walk for bloody miles. You don't really get a chance to connect with the main character because the movie jumps right in from the get go. I was waiting for something to happen throughout the movie, but the movie stays in the same tone and doesn't get that interesting. I don't think that the leading actress, Wasikowska, was the best choice for the role because she lacks emotion or the ability to really connect to anyone. In all, the movie does drag after a while and I did find it pretty boring. Average!

Round-Up: I'm glad that they showed the real lady, in the bonus footage, who went through this tremendous ordeal, because I found that more interesting than the whole movie. When you hear about her true life journey it really does bring to light her achievement, against all odds. The whole camel and dog aspect to her journey was quite amazing, but I really don't think that this movie done the true story any justice. Wasikowska, who has also starred in Alice in Wonderland and Lawless, doesn't really change throughout her journey, which is quite surprising because of the many different people that help her along her way. I honestly blame the director more than the actress because he could have made the film more intense and dramatic. 

Budget: $12million Worldwide Gross: $4million (Flop!)

I recommend this movie to people who are into there true stories about a woman who is determined to walk from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with 3 camels and a dog. 4/10
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7/10
So who was she trying to impress?
emuir-18 March 2017
I have given a rating of 7 as the photography of one of the least pleasant landscapes in the world is stunningly beautiful, and the slow pace of the film is engrossing, particularly the lack of contrived melodrama: e.g. Robyn almost drowning in a flash flood and falling into his arms after being rescued by Rick or gangs of angry Aboriginals threatening her after straying into their sacred lands; but the subject matter really struck a nerve. Self absorbed misfit hippy decides to walk across the Australian desert with a small herd of camels, as long as someone else coughs up the money. Why? What was she trying to prove? Her father trekked across the Kalahari - so? She did not even do it alone anyway as she had a photographer hanger on, who saw a chance to sell a big story, while he bragged non stop about his exploits in various exotic and dangerous hotspots, and Aboriginal guides for part of the way. The photographer sold the story in advance to National Geographic, who even financed a search party by plane when she got lost. Sorry, but adventure seekers willing to risk their and others' lives in order to fulfill their fantasies don't exactly get my sympathy. Exploring the unknown is one thing, but walking across a desert which has already been surveyed by air and 4-wheel drive vehicles is pointless and to my mind, simply a way to avoid a proper job. Perhaps she should have contacted the makers of hiking boots and asked them to sponsor her trip. Since Ms. Davidson's trek she has made a living by seeking out Nomads and writing travel books about her life with them, and become a darling of the environmentalists and feminists.

To be fair, I have now watched the film three times, which means that they must be doing something right, and I have not read Ms. Davidsons's book which might answer a few of my questions. I should also note that I have copies of the books by Wilfred Thesiger, an aristocratic Englishman who worked for the foreign service starting before WW2 and served in Ethopia, and Iraq, was a personal friend of crown prince Ras Tafari (Emperor Hailie Selassie) and who wrote several books about his solo treks across the desolate Danakil, and his life with the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. In his case, Mr. Thesiger was not crossing deserts to 'find himself' but because he was genuinely interested in the nomadic people who inhabited the desert and how their nomadic lifestyle has enabled them to survive for many thousands of years.

I lived in Australia for several years, including the Queensland outback, and there were many intrepid souls running sheep and cattle stations in isolated areas who seemed at peace with the isolation and did not wish or need to be in populated areas. I have not visited Western Australia but understand that it is even more isolated. Still, the undeniable fact is that 90% of Australians live in the five big cities, and another 5% or more live in small towns near the big cities. Ms. Davidson's preference for solitude may not be all that unusual.

In the early 60's I worked for the Commonwealth of Australia and we could have papered the walls with requests for funding by enthusiastic but usually inexperienced 'explorers' planning expeditions to the outback, Papua New Guinea, and sailing the around Pacific islands in everything from reproduction sailing ships to catamarans to rafts, and all hoping to write a book or sell their story to the magazines. The response was a big NO - why should the taxpayer be expected to subsidize their fun and likely have to send out a search party when they got into trouble?
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