Tuesday 20 May 2014

Review: Tracks

World of Blackout Film Review

Tracks Poster

Cert: 12A / 113 mins / Dir. John Curran
WoB Rating: 5/7

Much like her screen interpretation of Robyn Davidson, I believe that Mia Wasikowska is destined for great things, but hasn't quite found her niche or breakout-role yet. She brings a great air of 'general dispossession' to the proceedings, and it's her presence which sells the film I think, rather than the screenplay itself. It's certainly a case of the performance being better than the film.

The first act whizzes through the two years before the start of her walk, but if anything encapsulates Robyn struggling to find her place in the world. It's not really until the film's second act, bearing the title 'Day 61', is where the film slows more towards actual walking pace, and becomes far more interesting as a result. Davidson herself says that the walk wasn't to prove anything, but more 'why not?', and Tracks finds itself constantly struggling with this lack of general direction. Juggling a two hour run-time and a three year story span, with the need to show some kind of progression both physically and characteristically, it seems far too choppily edited for the introspective, meandering film you'd expect it to be.

To fund the essentials of her trek, Robyn wants (ie needs) sponsorship, but seems genuinely resentful of the deal which comes with it (which is photographer Rick Smolan showing up, even by his own admission, every five to six weeks, or so), and even when she becomes friends with Rick, her apparent perception of him seems to shift from interruption to interference. For all her strong-headedness, John Curran doesn't paint a particularly flattering picture of her. Tracks gives the impression that Davidson was a far more difficult person than her portrayal here would suggest, and this at least give Mia plenty to work with. I think the central theme is that Robyn wants solitude, but ultimately can't cope with it, and finds that asking for help once in a while isn't the end of the world. It's just a shame that the film falls short of conveying that more roundly.

Still, bonus points for the camel, Dookie, who sounds like an awesome hybrid of a bantha and a dewback. I'm a desert-boy at heart.*1

The only obstacle Robyn really had to overcome was herself, but rather than a journey of self-discovery, the film just shows Mia Wasikowska essentially putting up with herself until she reaches her destination.
Tracks isn't as inspirational as all involved might have intended, but it's a compelling story, certainly.

Oh, and is this written into Mia Wasikowska's contracts?

Mia Wasikowska firing a rifle.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I'm not sure that it does, no.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
You won't lose too much by watching it at home.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Probably not.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't. Oddly.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
What kind of ill-prepared oaf takes a domestic dog on a 1700 mile walk? Really?

*1 Yes, I know that's what camels sounds like, and that it was an influence for the sound effects used for the sand-dwelling creatures of Tatooine. But to me, the camel sounds like a dewback, not the other way round. No, you shut up.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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