Watch Wake in Fright
- 1 hr 49 min
Wake in Fright is a psychological thriller film from 1971, directed by Ted Kotcheff and based on the novel of the same name by Kenneth Cook. The movie revolves around a young schoolteacher, John Grant (Gary Bond), who is on his way to Sydney for Christmas vacation. He gets stranded in a small mining town called Bundanyabba, also known as "the Yabba," where he encounters a series of strange and disturbing events that force him to question his own sanity.
Soon after arriving in Bundanyabba, John becomes drawn into the town's excessive gambling, drinking, and hunting culture. He is taken under the wing of a charismatic but disturbing resident named Doc Tydon (Donald Pleasence), who introduces him to the town's twisted and dangerous activities. As John is pulled deeper into the wild and reckless behavior of the locals, he finds himself becoming more and more isolated and trapped, with no way out.
One of the film's central themes is the power of group influence over individual decision-making. John is initially hesitant to participate in the Yabba's ritual drinking and gambling, but he is soon swept up in it by the overwhelming influence of his new acquaintances. His struggles to resist the pressure to conform lead him further down a path of self-destruction and alienation.
Another notable aspect of Wake in Fright is its depiction of the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the Australian outback. The movie is shot on location in Broken Hill and Silverton, two towns in the real-life Australian outback that are known for their rugged and hauntingly beautiful desert landscapes. The film's stark cinematography captures the oppressive heat, relentless flies, and vast emptiness of the Yabba, making the setting itself a character in the story.
The movie's cast is also outstanding. Gary Bond delivers a compelling performance as the naive and increasingly desperate John Grant, while Donald Pleasence shines as the enigmatic and unsettling Doc Tydon. Chips Rafferty rounds out the main cast as Jock Crawford, a gruff but good-hearted local policeman who serves as a contrast to the town's more sinister inhabitants.
Overall, Wake in Fright is a suspenseful and often disturbing film that explores themes of identity, conformity, and the perils of group culture. Its bleak and evocative depictions of the Australian outback make it a unique and memorable entry in the psychological thriller genre.
Wake in Fright is a 1971 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6 and a MetaScore of 85.