Warm Nights On A Slow-Moving Ruminant: Davidson’s, Curran’s and Wasikowska’s Tracks

Tracks, a great film, opens in America this week and will do well there, or not; it did not do well here. Half the reason, I think, was the drab deciduous title (why not Camel Lady? Getting There? Davidson? Journeys? Travelling West?) and a quarter of it was the trailer (romcom, with dromedaries) and the rest of it the soggy unchanging pitch (vonts to be alone, does she? big deal). Even I delayed seeing it for weeks, and I now pronounce it one of Australia’s top ten films. The others are Samson and Delilah, Breaker Morant, The Year My Voice Broke, Snowtown, Beneath Hill 60 …

(Continued on Ellis Gold, tomorrow morning)

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  1. Read the book, so I’m interested to see what you think of the movie, which I have not seen, but which one family member rather enjoyed. Also young Miwakowski is pretty good, maybe our next Blanchett…

  2. Can’t believe you seriously think Snowtown is particulary good – in an Australian sense? Anyway, you left lots open on your ‘top ten’ but I would hope the first Crocodile Dundee film would be among them.

    Ah me! Arguing about the relative merits of fillums. Love it!

    • What is wrong with Snowtown?

      Have you seen it?

      I do not believe you have seen it.

      Have you?

      When did you see it?

      All the way through?

      • Answer this, very soon.

        By an unchanging rule of this blog, you do not judge what you have not read, or seen.

      • Yes, twice. Nihilistic, and could be set anywhere. Can’t see a connection between that and the other four films you mention as ‘good Australian’ fims – and with which opinion which I agree.

        Or are you saying Snowtown was ‘good’ simply because it was made in Aus? And your last four questions just make you seem foolish.

      • Seriously Bob – a very respectful question: What makes a film ‘good’ in your opinion?

        Is it to teach, to record, to accurately depict, or to uplift? Or any one of any other inadequate one-word descriptors.

        Godelpus if it simply devolves to ‘production values’, whatever that means to any particular beholder.

        And to be clear, I think Snowtown inadequately recorded, with wooden actors, an event which could have been set almost anywhere in the world. As such I don’t think it was either particularly ‘Australian’ or specifically ‘good’.

      • ‘Best In Show’ was good; ‘Blow Dry’ was good; Strictly Ballroom’ was good; ‘Zulu’ was good; ‘African Queen’ was good. And so on. Snowtown was inarticulate.

        • A film is good if it devastatingly affects your emotions, as Downfall did, Army Of Shadows, In The Valley Of Elah, Kes, Storm Boy, Breaker Morant. Strictly Ballroom and Best In Show are not in this league. Snowtown is good because it explores the banality of evil, and, most interestingly, the co-operative agreement of some of the victims to their own torture and murder. Your view that the actors were no good is bizarre.

          I call it a good Australian film because it was made in Australia, much as I would call Singin’ In The Rain a good American film because it was made in America, and Bonnie And Clyde, and The Desperate Hours, and Casablanca.

  3. Has Bob reviewed Wolf Creek 2?

    I’ve not read any glowing reviews here. And its a pity.

    A great Aussie filum that has done very well in the box office but gets unnoticed by the critics.

    I liked it very much. Especially the quiz scene in the dungeon where John Jarratt tortures a pommie bastard for not being able to name Australia’s most famous cricketer! Pom’s hand gets placed in a vice. A massive angle grinder roars into action and cuts a finger off for each answer the pom gets wrong!


    A new Australian genre. Horror-Comedy.


  4. ‘The Devil’s Playground’ an early Schepisi film from the mid-seventies, rarely gets a mention these days, but was a very powerful film for its day. Deserves to be up there in the nascent Australian film industry.

  5. For me NEWSFRONT tops the list… the first genuine piece of real Australia making it to the screen after The Great Drought (no film industry for close to 40 years)… a movie as fresh today as 78′ when I saw it for the first (of many times) at opening of the London Film festival with the director, Phil Noyce along with 2,000 people who just ate it up!… it mirrors a time of a simplier Australia filled with most of the hopes and dreams we still hold dear today and the grit of political delinquency that never tires of tiring the people… Bill Hunter’s finest (of many fine) hour(s)… if you haven’t seen it, do so… they don’t make ém like this anymore, and they should to remind us where we came from and the parts of what we had lost along the way…

  6. I thought ‘Tracks’ was a good film, although it’s not going to make my all-time top ten Australian films list. Working in multiculturalism, I liked the scenes with the Australian Sikhs, with their broad accents. I remember thinking after I saw it if it had been toned down from an M rating, it could have been marketed as a family film, and maybe done better at the box office. Then again, it’s not my film.

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