Everybody loves a good “Man vs. Nature” film, especially if it’s a true story about human beings beating the odds and surviving in the strangest and most difficult circumstances. Recent years have brought us a spate of these semi-biopics of adventurers who decide to risk life and limb just to prove they can do it. The most recent of these films is Tracks, featuring Mia Wasikowska as a woman who decides to trek across Australian deserts.
Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson, who made a solo walk across western Australia from Alice Springs to Uluru (about 1700 miles), accompanied by her dog and four camels. She was joined for awhile by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver), who chronicled part of her journey and helped her with some much needed funding. They developed an uneasy but enduring friendship which makes the centrepiece of the film.
Tracks had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival last year, and has since gone to Telluride and Toronto prior to its wide release. The trailer gives us some spectacular vistas of the beautiful but unforgiving desert, but is relatively light on plot and characterization. I’d like to see more of the actual relationship between the two leads, and less of panoramas that look like Lawrence of Arabia-lite. Man vs. Nature films are only as good as their actors, and a beautiful landscape can never quite make up for beautiful characterization.
Tracks thus far does not appear to do anything new with the genre, but it’s an intriguing and possibly epic story. What director John Curran (The Painted Veil) has managed to do with it has yet to be seen, but it may at least make for a nice Friday night at the movies.
Tracks wanders into theatres soon, but no U.S. release date has yet been set. We’ll let you know when we hear more.
Source: The Film Stage