- 1 hr 40 min
In the Australian Outback, Walkabout tells the story of two siblings stranded in the harsh wilderness without any survival skills or communication ability. When their father tries to kill them both and eventually himself, the two children must find a way to survive on their own, as they walk towards civilization. A chance encounter with an Aboriginal boy, played by David Gulpilil, turns their journey into a transformative experience.
The film explores the theme of cultural differences and the struggle to bridge gaps between two radically different lifestyles. As the two children embark on their journey with the Aboriginal boy, they begin to discover the harsh realities and beauty of physical survival in the wilderness. Unable to provide water and basic sustenance, the children rely on the Aboriginal boy's knowledge and guidance.
Throughout the film, there is a vivid portrayal of the opposing natures of the Western civilization and the Aboriginal culture. The movie depicts an uncompromising and often brutal environment as a contrast to the pampered existence back home. The boy serves as the embodiment of the strong and resigned nature of the native people while the children represent Western modernity and vulnerability.
The film's protagonist Jennifer, played by Jenny Agutter, is a 16-year-old girl in her early teens. She struggles to navigate the harsh new environment and to reconcile herself to the pressure of societal norms. As the journey continues, Jennifer's transformation is palpable, as she adapts to the grueling conditions of the environment and as she abandons the confines of Western society.
The movie's director Nicolas Roeg, maintains his signature abstractionist style throughout the film, using innovative techniques and visual experimentation. He creates a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere through the vast and awe-inspiring landscapes of the Australian Outback. The cinematography and music further convey the unsettling sense of isolation and displacement that the children experience on their journey.
As the film explores the relationship between the children and the Aboriginal boy, it also confronts the legacy of colonialism and how it affects the way different cultures perceive one another. The children's initial lack of understanding and the boy's alienation due to his cultural differences highlight the complex power dynamics that exist between different communities.
As the trio moves towards civilization, they must face their own fears and prejudices, only then will they be able to find a new sense of belonging. The Aboriginal boy, who acts as a bridge between the two cultures, is seen as an enigmatic figure, his role both crucial and undefined.
Walkabout is a deeply moving film that highlights the essential human experiences of connection and struggle for survival. It explores themes of culture, family, and identity, and shows how sometimes, our only means of survival lies in connecting with something that we might consider strange or foreign. At its core lies a universal truth, that only through mutual respect and understanding can we hope to build bridges and overcome our differences.
Walkabout is a 1971 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 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.