An innocent family picnic explodes into existential panic in Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout, a tale of two city children who bump horns with Mother Nature in the Australian Outback after their incestuous, abstract father figure goes berserk. The screen erupts in elliptic madness and an Aboriginal boy enters the frame, acting as a spirit guide for the two white children, whose dependence on technology will not be the only thing that’s tested throughout their trek across the Outback. Two journeys predicated on initially disparate ambitions will become one, and as the trio moves through the mysterious landscape, they will reach a spiritless limbo on the map: buildings whose structural misery suggests a colonialist war was once waged and lost here. Roeg’s shots of steely, spiritless cityscapes bring to mind Michelangelo Antonioni and Jacques Tati’s jabs at industrial topographies and his elusive editing draws gripping comparisons between nature’s food chain and the savagery of urban planning. Always contemplating the relationship between here and now, our notions of each other’s differences, and the costs of our culture of consumption, Walkabout suggests that the precarious relationship between industry and nature is not so easily reconciled, though understanding that humanity is our greatest natural resource couldn’t hurt.
- 20th Century Fox
- 100 min
- Nicolas Roeg
- Edward Bond
- Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, David Gulpilil, John Meillon
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