Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right) stars in the astonishing true story of Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 set out on a solo 2,700-kilometre journey by foot across the Australian Outback.
In 1977, a twenty-seven-year-old Australian woman named Robyn Davidson set out from Alice Springs to walk across 2,700 kilometers of harsh desert to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied only by her dog and four camels, Davidson yearned for a solitary journey of self-discovery, and had no ambition other than to reach the ocean beach. She ultimately wrote about her desert adventure in 1980 in the travelogue Tracks, which became a cult favourite around the world and has only now been beautifully adapted for the big screen by director John Curran (The Painted Veil).
Robyn (Mia Wasikowska, in a bravura performance) spends two hardscrabble years in the Alice Springs area learning how to train and care for camels (feral herds of which number in the thousands in Western Australia) in order to prepare for her journey. Finally ready to embark with her animals, she realizes she is woefully underfunded and, despite her desires for self-sufficiency, accepts a fee from National Geographic in exchange for a written piece. The magazine adds a condition: she must allow photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver, also at the Festival in Michael Dowse's The F Word) to photograph her at selected stops along the way.
As adapted by Marion Nelson, Tracks captures two arduous journeys: Robyn making her way slowly through the outback; and her (arguably more perilous) inner search. The motivation behind her decision to test her limits, and the reasons for her preference for animals over people, are subtly revealed during the chronicle of the back-breaking crossing.
Curran casts the harsh, red-baked land as
much more than just Robyn's antagonist —
at different points it woos her, threatens
her, comforts her, steals from her, and submits
to her, and we feel privileged to share