Managing to cross over 2700kms of brutal Australian desert in nine whole months in the late ‘70s, Robyn Davidson’s incredible accomplishment is very film-worthy. Mia Wasikowska fills her shoes – or rather, tattered sandals – with convincing displays of determination in both seeing through her colossal journey and maintaining her stance against socialisation. She is occasionally assisted by the National Geographic photographer (Adam Driver) covering her story and a perky non-English-speaking Aboriginal elder, but for the most part, her only companions are her faithful dog Diggity and the four camels carrying her stuff. It’s a journeywoman film front and centre; one that should appeal to those who flocked to 2010’s The Way.
While the dangers of the voyage are made abundantly clear, cinematographer Mandy Walker (Australia) makes the staggering walk feel almost inviting with an eye that beautifully blends a sun-scorched colour palette to sumptuous effect. The lingering imagery suggests a movie with meditative qualities, but Tracks doesn’t provide much for us to mentally chew on. The setup does well to highlight how Robyn doesn’t click with fellow peers of her generation. Yet, it’s a factor that never flourishes in a satisfying way, making it hard to feel her personal growth beyond “I just want to be alone” to “I don’t want to be alone.” Perhaps that’s the point, that she doesn’t need to change or grow in order to achieve astonishing feats, but her closed-off nature makes the movie seem just as barricaded, meaning we never get more than an observer’s understanding of her.
‘Tracks’ Movie Times