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Nicolas Roeg's masterpiece, Walkabout, is the mystical story of an English sister and brother who are abandoned in the harsh Australian outback. They are rescued by an Aborigine boy who has journeyed into the vast desert on his "walkabout"--a tribal initiation into manhood. Contrasting their idyllic sojourn with scenes that convey the senseless violence of urban life, Roeg captures the conflict between natural instincts and the "civilized" behavior that leads to tragedy for the young Aborigine. Roeg (Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth) is one of the most individualistic, provocative, and talented filmmakers of our time. His breathtaking cinematography and a haunting score by Oscar®-winner John Barry (The Lion in Winter) augment the cast's flawless performances. From the producers of A Clockwork Orange.
Very few films achieve a kind of subliminal greatness with cross-cultural impact, but Walkabout is one of those films--a visual tone poem that functions more as an allegory than a conventionally plotted adventure. Considered a cult favorite for years, Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film--about two British children who are rescued in the Australian outback by a young aborigine--was originally released in the U.S. with an R rating, edited from its European length of 100 minutes. In 1997, the film was fully restored to its director's cut, and in its remastered video and DVD release, it's now wisely unrated (as Roeg had always intended) but still suitable for viewers of all ages. For parents this is a rare opportunity to treat well-supervised children (ages 5 and over) to an adventure that won't insult their intelligence, presenting scenes of frontal nudity and the hunting of animals in a context that invites valuable discussion and introspection. Through exquisite cinematography and a story of subtle human complexity, the film continues to resonate on many thematic and artistic levels. Roeg had always intended it to be a cautionary morality tale, in which the limitations and restrictions of civilization become painfully clear when the two children (played by Jenny Agutter and Roeg's young son, Lucien John) cannot survive without the aborigine's assistance. They become primitives themselves, if only temporarily, while the young aborigine proves ultimately and tragically unable to join the "family" of civilization. With its story of two worlds colliding, Walkabout now seems like a film for the ages, hypnotic and open to several compelling levels of interpretation. In addition to presenting the film in its original 1.77:1 aspect ratio, the Criterion Collection DVD of Walkabout includes a variety of bonus features, including a full-length commentary by Nicolas Roeg and Jenny Agutter, original theatrical trailers, and an essay by critic Roger Ebert. --Jeff Shannon
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The film is very eccentric at times, clearly depicts cultural differences between ethnic groups, and has very strong sexual tension. It tends to drift a lot almost lulling the audience into feeling that desert heat and resulting drowsiness. There really isn't a declared purpose at the end, just more of a snapshot of the lives of a handful of people finding themselves in tenuous and challenging situations. Overall it's a classic for sure with nothing I know of quite like it before or since so stands on its own and the test of time.
As far as the movie itself goes, I really don't think I have the words to evoke the sublime mix of emotions and the sheer beauty of this film. Find an old Roger Ebert review or something; or just get it and watch it.
WARNING: there are no explosions or gunfights or martial arts or CGI or faux-blown-out sound effects or even sex in this movie, so if you consider those essential parts of a movie experience, don't bother.
However, Walkabout is not a perfect film - and no films are perfect. Some of the cinemagraphic techniques and close ups of hunting-and the final killing blows seem excessively blunt and unnecessary.
Walkabout is a moving story, beautifully filmed and gave me the sense that we are all just gods creatures.
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