The upcoming film Tracks chronicles the true story of Robyn Davidson, who traveled 1,700 miles across the Australian desert in 1977, accompanied by four camels and her dog. Davidson’s nine-month journey takes her from Australia’s Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. There have been attempts to make a theatrical version of Tracks for decades; Julia Roberts was set to be cast as Davidson in 1993 before the project fell apart. But now, with the help of The Weinstein Company and acclaim at several film festivals, Tracks is ready for a domestic release with two rising stars as the leads.
Considering that the film is a stunning portrayal of bravery and commitment, top-notch acting seems like a must. Mia Wasikowska has drawn acclaim for her portrayal of Robyn Davidson, while Adam Driver plays National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who documented Davidson’s journey. Wasikowska is best known for playing the titular character in 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, Joni in The Kids Are All Right and India in Stoker. Driver has emerged as a strong comedic force in the HBO comedy series Girls. He is also set to appear in an upcoming Martin Scorsese film and potentially as the villain in the next Star Wars film. These two rising young stars appear to be ideal fits as Davidson and Smolan.
While Tracks is a different type of film than Wasikowska and Driver are accustomed to performing in, it appears they have taken strong hold of this drama/pseudo-documentary hybrid. The recently released trailer for Tracks makes it easy to get excited. The trailer begins immediately with a Wasikowska voice-over, where her character of Davidson provides an overview of what her journey is and why she is embarking on it. “When people ask me why I’m doing it, my usual answer is ‘Why not?’” she says, as doubting voices emanate over a dramatic string accompaniment.
In the trailer, everything from the soaring music to the wide-range nature shots depicts anthemic excitement. Davidson faces a number of obstacles, from camel injuries to snake threats, though also encounters interesting characters and discovers love along the way. The trailer shows Davidson and Smolan kissing in the desert at one point, so although that is a spoiler of sorts, it’s the journey that counts — as Davidson would probably agree. Davidson, Smolan, the camels and a dog have plenty to offer in terms of narrative throughout this visually-stimulating and thrilling journey. They’ll encounter everything from dangerous animal traps to searching for a water source.
As a film released by The Weinstein Company, it’s not a surprise that the team who worked on Tracks has a history of success. Those responsible for Tracks include producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, who also produced The King’s Speech. Director John Curran has a great track record, too, with films like The Painted Veil, Stone and 2004 festival favorite We Don’t Live Here Anymore. The film length may not be enough to fully capture the thrilling journey of Robyn Davidson and Rick Smolan at only 110 minutes, but Tracks looks like it makes excellent use of that time.