REVIEW: Tracks

23 09 2014

TracksLondon Film Festival, 2013

Maybe this is something I will grow out of as I get older, but I have always identified most with the wandering protagonists of the cinema.  From Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate” to Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air,” these perpetual seekers seemed to forge the strongest and longest-lasting connection with me.

So I seemed predisposed to click with Robyn Davidson, the protagonist of the film “Tracks” who perilously treks with camels through the Australian desert just to learn something about herself.  I found myself nodding in vigorous agreement with the film’s epigraph from Davidson, “Some nomads are at home everywhere.  Others are at home nowhere, and I was one of those.”

Yet once the film began in earnest, I related to Davidson’s journey with mild intensity at best.  I felt distant from her the entire way, kept at arm’s length by Mia Wasikowska’s generic performance.  She and the film meander towards no particular destination, although that wouldn’t be a problem if the journey yielded any significant personal developments (and “Tracks” really doesn’t).

The film is still interesting to watch, even if it doesn’t inspire reflection at the level suggested by its opening quotation.  The cinematography by Mandy Walker captures all the sweeping beauty of the inhospitable outback, and Adam Driver (from “Girls”) makes for some amusing comic relief as Rick Smolan, a National Geographic photographer who sporadically documents her progress.  But sadly, “Tracks” never satisfyingly captures the psychology of its subject.  B2halfstars

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