A young woman treks 1700 miles across the Australian desert with only a trio of camels for comfort.
In 1977, then 27 year old Robyn Davidson decided to trek across Australia alongside some camels, later documenting the journey in a 1978 book called Tracks. And now there’s a film version.
Essentially this is a movie about a long walk and about the fairly unlikeable lady doing the walking. As played by the very busy Mia Wasikowska, Davidson is dismissive of other humans, even when she needs help, and openly unfair and manipulative towards her sometime photographer Rick (Adam Driver).
By turns selfish and self-involved, she’s a tough character to get behind, with the film providing just barely enough context to keep the audience engaged. Otherwise, the trip is a surprisingly uneventful one – there’s little in the way of incident or set backs other than the odd crazed camel.
American director John Curran (The Painted Veil) certainly gets his moneys worth in stunning antipodean vistas but doesn’t seem all that interested in bringing much focus to the film. The side plot involving Rick’s invasive photography and its general contrivance could have been explored further but it, like everything else, is left hanging.
The result is more of a contemplative picture – big on impressive imagery and short on dialogue or action. As such, its perfectly watchable without ever managing to be all that engaging or memorable.