For only reasons known to her, Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) plans to take a solo journey across over 2,000 miles of Australian Outback with her black lab and 4 barely trained camels. She has limited training and no money, but through a sponsorship from National Geographic, she is able to make the journey a reality. The only stipulation is that a photographer (Adam Driver) from National Geographic be allowed to document her trip along the way.
Based on actual events from Robyn Davidson’s book Tracks, this movie tells the powerful journey she took back in 1977. As I watched the movie, I looked at it from 2 different viewpoints; as a movie and as a story. I’ve learned the past watching true stories that I can understand the value in documenting what happened to other people even if I didn’t enjoy the topic, story or outcome. I believe that is what I felt about Tracks. I understand the hardship Robyn endured and overcame, but I didn’t understand why she did it nor that it was necessary.
For the first hour of this movie, we calmly and patiently watched this woman prepare for her journey and set off into the unknown. She met new people along the way and even ran into trouble from time to time. She is lonely, but she is stubborn. She will stop at nothing to finish her voyage. Near the end of the movie, we are thrown a HUGE curveball that stirs up true emotions for the first time on Robyn’s journey. If this had been a work of fiction, I would have just left because what happens to Robyn is tragic and sad. It is such a blow to us watching the film that the ending is almost a blur. To me the movie ended right then and there because of the nature of the tragedy. The last 20 minutes are bittersweet however necessary to the film, but are far from rewarding. During the credits we see the real pictures that Rick Smolan took on the trip which reminded me that this story was real and that makes me even sadder.
The one bright spot of the whole entire film, besides the wonderful camera work, is Mia Wasikowska’s performance. She immerses herself in the lead role and embraces the elements. I see many award nominations for her in the near future!
As a powerful story and adventure, Tracks delivers and will be enjoyed by people who enjoy the outdoors (my an Eagle Scout so I’m bias), but as a story, audiences will find her story a burden and too sad to find enjoyment. Had it not been for her tragedy, this movie would be something I recommend, but unless you like crying or having a depressing day, I’d suggest you watch 127 Hours.
6/10 Stars – I can’t fault this movie for true events, but it’s too sad and a burden to tell others to watch it.