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The Tracker (2002)

  Directed by: Rolf de Heer
Starring: Damon Gameau, David Gulpilil, Grant Page, Gary Sweet
Links: The Tracker on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Drama
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2002 (nominee)

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Tracker (2002) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Australian Rules (2002), pearly's review of Black and White (2002) and pearly's review of The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001).

"Interesting techniques make for unique film" - a review by pearly

David Gulpilil is the tracker, an Aboriginal man who, in 1922, is under the employ of the white policemen, as he read signs in the surrounds and use these signs to track people. In this case, he is led by the fanatic (Gary Sweet), with the veteran (Grant Page, disturbingly a dead ringer for Warwick Moss of Bright Ideas fame), and the follower (Damon Gameau) in tow.

The Tracker is a slow-moving story, doing little to speed up the process of hunting for a fugitive via misplaced stones and broken twigs. I'm not telling you this because it's a bad thing. There's just time to contemplate what's going on, and to make up your own mind about who are the goodies, and who are the baddies.

This is a very serious film, about serious events in Australia's history. However, in amongst it, there is still time for humour; the tracker himself is a very funny and intelligent character. Rolf de Heer has certainly created another masterpiece, but it's in a totally different vein to his earlier cult classic (I can't believe I just used those words) Bad Boy Bubby (1993).

One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that when key events occur, the live footage cuts away to a painting of the event taking place. The paintings (done by Peter Coad) serve a couple of purposes. Firstly, they are a way of illustrating violence without showing it in all its gruesome detail. Secondly, they break up the film and give it another dimension. This detail was most definitely one of my favourite things about the movie.

Another fairly unique thing about this film is the use of music. The soundtrack, sung by Archie Roach, was written specifically for the movie, and tells the story when the characters are quiet. The music is way more in the focus for this film than it is for others (without it becoming a musical). I found this to be a really powerful way to get the messages across.

Definitely one that all Aussies should see.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 2 Sep 2002

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. The movie was ok it was pretty good 4 an australian movie, and the paintings and characters were great really good. the move should have had a bit more violence because i just think it would be better with that i also think the painting were cool with the sound effects in the background it was all pretty dam good.

    Rating given: 7

    A comment from Ryan Sherwin on Thu 23 Jun 2005 10:27 #

  2. The movie was good. But it needed more violence to show the true treatment of Aboriginals back then by thw Whites. I really liked the movie.

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from jeremy lunn on Thu 23 Jun 2005 10:31 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 7.50 (2 ratings)

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