Tracks review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
I’ll be the first one to say I hadn’t heard of Robyn Davidson before the release of Tracks, I hadn’t even contemplated the fact there were people who were crazy enough to do something so daring and adventurous. Maybe crazy is the wrong word for Robyn but it’s easy to see why Tracks works as a film as not only is she an enviably courageous woman but her sense of modesty makes her instantly empathetic. Her journey is joyous and miserable in equal measure and a treat for any fan of contemplative, introverted cinema.
Tracks follows Robyn (Mia Wasikowska) as she prepares for her 1500 mile trek across Australia from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. As she gets ready she must face her fears while also combating her idealised view of isolation as she faces real loneliness as she must rely upon her own abilities to make the trek. Along the way she finds herself joined periodically by a lively photographer (Adam Driver) intent on telling her story and showing the true horrors and wonders of the desert from the perspective of someone brave enough to travel it.
Unlike The Way this isn’t a trip brought on by grief, it isn’t a way to connect to people despite having a lack of social skills, its about connecting with a world we have all lost in some way by living in a civilised society. The idea that one can find peace and kind hearted people in the most inhospitable places is the whole message of Tracks and its one that is handled with the upmost care and delicacy. There is no denying that life is life and it is going to throw some terrible things your way, as Robyn finds out but it is also a mixed bag and the film ensures that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel even if the road ahead is long and arduous.
However the film would only work if it had a powerhouse performance and Wasikowska delivers in spades. Not only is her Robyn kind yet abrasive but she is also a strong willed and naive girl who hasn’t quite become her true self. The insecurities and inexperience never overcome her but Wasikowska makes sure you notice them making Robyn that much more likable.
It seems like lately films have started coming out of the woodwork where characters find themselves on long walks looking for answers, much like with The Way Robyn finds them but with Tracks you might just find some yourself.