Directed By: John Curran
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Lily Pearl, Rainer Brock, Jessica Tovey, Melanie Zanetti, John Flaus,
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B+

The story of Robyn Davidson, a young Australian woman who made the nearly 2,000-mile journey across the country’s desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with only her dog and a few camels to keep her company. Along the way, she is occasionally accompanied by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who is tasked with taking pictures of her at various points of her journey. As she travels, she finally finds the solitude she has been seeking most of her life, though at times it seems to be more of a burden than a friend, especially in the times of hardship she encounters.

Based on the incredible real-life story of Robyn Davidson, whose trek would later become both a National Geographic article and a book, this movie is an interesting portrait of a young woman wanting to find herself and choosing to do so by walking across Australia’s desert. Despite coming from a comfortable life, Robyn longs for solitude, with the only exception being the company of her dog and other animals. Wasikowska does well with the Australian accent, and she has a decent chemistry with Adam Driver, who plays Rick Smolan, and whose character Davidson reluctantly befriends along the way. Filmed entirely in Australia, the movie also showcases the desert’s stark beauty.

From what I can tell, there don’t appear to be any special effects used, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

Those who enjoy slow, easy drama with sweeping landscapes should enjoy this movie. This movie could almost be a one-person project as most of the time is spent solely with Wasikowska’s Robyn and her animal companions. There are some instances of violence against animals, and the story may move a bit slowly for younger children.

Tracks is currently available free to stream through TubiTV and IMDb TV, and it can be rented through Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote


Directed By: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgård, Joana Ribiero, Óscar Jaenada, Jason Watkins, Paloma Boyd, Jordi Mollà,
Rating: NR
Grade: A

Cynical filmmaker Toby finds himself directing his latest film near the village where he made a student film, and finds the local shoemaker he had hired living in the delusion of being Don Quixote, the role he had in Toby’s film, and who now believes Toby to be his traveling companion, Sancho Panza. As Toby follows Quixote on his quest to rescue his lady love, he is confronted with the consequences of the film he made in his idealistic youth, and forced to reevaluate the path his life is on.

I was pleasantly surprised with this movie, which is one of only a handful of Terry Gilliam movies I’ve seen. Don Quixote seems to rest in the center of his storytelling style, with tonal shifts between the dramatic and the purposefully ridiculous, and Gilliam seems to be one of the few filmmakers who can make that type of storytelling work. The performances by Pryce and Driver are amazing as you begin to wonder if the movie is actually happening, or if stress and being overworked are causing Toby to have a mental breakdown. I’m almost completely unfamiliar with Don Quixote, so I have no idea if the movie plot parallels the book in any way.

What few special effects used appear to be decent, and the background filler isn’t really noticeable.

Fans of Terry Gilliam or any of the actors involved will likely enjoy this movie. While it may be a bit much to watch regularly, it shouldn’t grate for occasional viewings. Anyone looking for a laugh and a slightly-wacky story should enjoy the movie as well.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is currently available to stream through Sony Crackle, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.