Why am I drawn to movies about leaving the world behind? I think it’s because, like these women, I too dream of escaping. Being out there by yourself allows you to really know who you are. I get these women. I understand them.
The latest movie I’ve seen is Tracks. It had been on my radar for awhile and I squealed in delight when I saw it on Netflix. I immediately cleared my schedule and plopped down in front of my TV.
The movie follows the story of Robyn who decides to trek across the Australian outback (1,700 miles) with 4 camels and her dog Diggity (which is by far one of the best dog names I’ve heard and a serious contender when I get my own).
The universe gave us three things to make life bearable: hope, jokes, and dogs. But the greatest of these was dogs.”
The story is as simple as that. The only wrench in the plan is that she must fund her trip and so writes to National Geographic. They agree to fund her, as long as a photographer (Rick) joins her at determined intervals to take pictures and resupply her. Adam Driver plays this character. And Rick is the definition of a chatty cathy. His inability to shut up causes Robyn to despise him in the beginning. Here is a woman who wants to escape it all but must now deal with someone she doesn’t know or like. And in my opinion, never really likes. It’s true they have their moments but most of the time, she is exasperated with his presence. A reaction I found refreshing. This was not a movie where a woman and a man go into the desert and find love. No. This is a movie where a woman goes into the desert to find herself.
Oh and did I mention this is based on a true story? Cause it is. In 1977 (I think), the real Robyn goes into the desert. Her story is featured in National Geographic and it becomes so popular she writes the book. And the idea that a real woman did these things inspires me.
Now down to the nitty gritty. The movie’s scenery is spectacular. The acting is great. I’ve seen Adam Driver in other things but he nails the photographer (at least I think he does. I’ll have to read the book to find out). And Robyn is a girl I understand – as stated above. There’s not a whole lot of dialogue but that doesn’t hurt the movie in my opinion. It helps it. If you were trekking alone by yourself, you wouldn’t talk a whole lot. Instead the movie helps the plot along by voice overs. I didn’t find these distracting. Instead it felt like she was telling you the story after it had ended.
The movie has its sad parts. That I will not hide. Something I feared would happen after watching the first five minutes did happen. I knew it was coming. I was hoping, praying that it wouldn’t. But it did. And if that happened to the real Robyn., I just couldn’t imagine going through it. Fuck! Even thinking about it is starting to make me cry again. Shit…hold on.
Okay…I’m back. Tissues in hand.
A lot of people may not like this movie. It’s a bit weird. The plot is simple. And you may just not get Robyn. And that will be decided early on. The first quarter of the movie relates the 2 years leading up to her trek. She has to go to Alice Springs, the starting point for her journey and collect her belongings (and camels). This takes longer than I think she, or the audience, expects. And during that time she stays in a variety of places (rented room, camping under a makeshift tent, and an abandoned building). And so Robyn’s independence is realized early on. And if you don’t understand her by the first 25 minutes, you’re not going to get her for the rest of the movie. So just sit back and watch it for the scenery.
The only thing I didn’t like about this movie (and the same thing I didn’t like about Wild) was that when she reaches the ocean and her journey is over, so is the movie. Other than a couple finishing shots and text on the screen, the film ends. Kinda anticlimactic. I wanted to know…what happens now? How does she go on with her life.
But overall, I really enjoyed Tracks. I felt it was inspiring. And I now must read the book.