To watch the movie Tracks is to find yourself immersed in a stunning, far-reaching rhythmic display of widescreen images that move from desolate arid landscapes, merciless red rock, parched, desiccated earth and seemingly infinite sands, into the delicious and succulent body of the ocean.
With the film’s powerful cinematography, viewers lose themselves in the midst of the timeless desert landscape of sprawling endurance, to then find themselves again amidst the rich intimacy of a close-up of a ragged skirt hem, brushed by calloused feet in weather-worn sandals that drudgingly walk alongside the persevering hooves of camels. This powerful play of contrasts, expanse and constriction, beautifully mirrors the inner struggle that the protagonist faces alone on her epic journey.
Based on the 1977 true story of Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska), Tracks is a cinematic film that beautifully and powerfully recounts one 27-year-old woman’s courageous 1,700-mile journey by foot across the unforgiving Australian desert with four camels and a black dog named Diggity. Director John Curran (We Don’t Live Here Anymore, The Painted Veil) works with Marion Nelson’s focused script of minimal dialogue to capture the intensity of Robyn’s sense of isolation, her mistrust of people, the profound relationship she has with her environment, and the intensity of a psychologically transformative journey.
Seemingly unaware of the true motivation for her journey other than the desire to be alone, Robyn works for years learning to train the feral camels that will be her tie to survival amidst an inhospitable yet sacred landscape. Thanks to Curran’s fine directorial work, the viewer is intimately aware that she seeks to start anew and somehow be born again through the grueling walkabout, so that she can eventually feel unencumbered by the weight of her traumatic past. The journey is one of a grieving soul, seeking to return to wholeness and find her place in the world anew.
Her journey is almost entirely solitary, but she is occasionally accompanied by an aboriginal elder, Mr. Eddy (Rolley Mintuma), who walks with her through sacred aboriginal land. Every six weeks, her sponsor’s American photographer, Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) from the National Geographic, visits her and takes pictures. Sporadic tourists also seek to take pictures of the elusive and misunderstood “Camel Lady”.
I watched the movie with my jaw dropped at the totality of the experience. The masterful editing moved rhythmically, almost hypnotically, from one scene to the next. The poetic visual pacing was beautifully mirrored by the outstanding addition of Garth Stevenson’s soundtrack. His choice of subtle, moody and emotional instrumentation adds a perfect balance of anticipation and suspense, and a sense of expansive reverie, to the lush visuals. You can sense Stevenson’s innate appreciation for nature, nourished in the green landscapes of his native British Columbia.
Audiences are left mesmerized by the vast landscape, stunning cinematography and the intimate, gritty and graceful performance by Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Stoker).
This movie is for anyone who loves nature, believes in the transformation of the soul, and delights in the human spirit – or for anyone who simply loves an outstanding cinematic experience.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine and an internationally recognized Canadian musician, yogi and new thought leader. As a chart-topping touring musician, Parvati spearheads the Post New-Age musical genre with her independent success hit single “Yoga in the Nightclub”. She founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a powerful yoga method that combines energy work and yoga poses. Her critically acclaimed self-help debut book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie – A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker” is currently in its third edition.