Walkabout – Another Way

Quick Thoughts: Walkabout (1971)

Unable to kill his two children, a father kills himself, leaving them stranded deep in the Australian outback.

Walkabout is a very unique example of the survival film thanks to its incredibly poetic, arguably symphonic, approach to the genre. In such, this is not only a film about a brother and sister surviving in the outback with an indigenous young man, but is a juxtaposition of survival in the talons of mother nature and living within the embrace of a modern society. Whilst this raises cliched romantic ideas of a simpler indigenous living, this sentiment doesn’t entirely overwhelm this narrative. This is due to the loose and meandering plot which is largely supported by montage sequences depicting animals, bodies, hunting, nature; motifs that build beyond basic notions of romantic human simplicity. What Walkabout then does so well is project the idea that there is a whole other way in which life can be approached through its allusions to Aboriginal culture. And in exploring this idea, it critiques the structure of modern city living, reducing it to a naive means of sheltering oneself from the real world; which isn’t as formidable as it may seem to the average city person.

An interesting caveat to this idea is provided by themes of death, more specifically, suicide. With these themes book-ending the narrative, the over-arching commentary on all human living is that some of the greatest challenges and the most complex of terrains we will face will come from within ourselves. And it’s this element of Walkabout that really secured it as a pretty tremendous movie. Not only is it aesthetically wondrous, but is measured and rational in its assessment of what can prove to be difficult themes.



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