Wednesday, July 13, 2011

968. Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

Running Time: 94 minutes
Directed By: Phillip Noyce
Written By: Christine Olsen
Main Cast: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan, Kenneth Branagh, David Gulpilil


As I inch closer and closer to my immediate goal of 301 films watched, the hits just keep on coming as director Phillip Noyce brings forth the story of three young girls, who want nothing more than to get home.

The film takes place in Australia during the 1930s and is a true story. recounting the days when the Aboriginal Protection Act was in full force. The Aboriginal Protection Act being the power that was given to the white's to relocate any mixed race Aborigines (or half-castes) to a type of concentration camp. The reasoning behind the act, as given in the film by A.O. Neville, Chief Protector of the Aborigines, is that the Aboriginal people of Australia are a danger to themselves and must be bred out of existence. Our story follows three particular girls, Molly (Sampi), Gracie (Monaghan) and Daisy (Sansbury), who are plucked from their home at Jigalong and taken to one of the small communities. Molly, refusing to adapt, citing that the people who have taken her away make her sick, decides one day, along with her cousin Gracie and her sister Daisy, to leave. Not knowing that they've been taken 1500 miles away from home, the girls determination never gives out, as they make their way to a rabbit-proof fence, that stretches for thousands of miles across Australia and a fence that the girls recognize and know that it leads to home. With a tracker on their tail, the girls fight against the desert heat just to make it back home.


Despite the films political message, all of that becomes, in a way, null and void when you strip down the film to it's bare bones plot. Quite simply, the film is about three girls who have been taken from their home and who escape their captors to try and make it back home. Nothing else really matters and despite them cramming the politics and race issues in there, to the main characters it was only ever about getting home and that's essentially all that should matter to the viewer. At first sight, I was wary of the film, thinking that it was simply going to be a ninety minute political statement or possibly ninety minutes of telling us that "racism is bad", which most people with half a brain already know. But when the story focused in on the innocence of the young girls, aged 8 - 14, it pretty much becomes a moot point.

It's a good movie though and I think the appealing thing is that it's simply a VERY different kind of fugitive story. You have these three girls who escape a type of prison and despite their age, still manage to reach their destination. Along their way they encounter different kinds of people, some willing to help them, some who want to hurt them and they encounter the forces of mother nature, the ailments of traveling for weeks on end. Like "Hoop Dreams" this is a story of hope, of triumph and of determination. I think we'll call that a wrap.

RATING: 6.5/10 To me a '7' is getting into that greatness echelon and this film just wasn't GREAT, but rather "very good".


July 12, 2011 11:36pm

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