Some people go on vacation to find themselves. They start writing their novel, or get a makeover or eat/pray/love their way to self acceptance. But in 1977, Robyn Davidson took things in a slightly bigger direction when she gathered up some camels and trekked across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the west coast – you know, just because.
Davidson’s story is chronicled in Tracks, the adaptation of her revered “National Geographic” article turned memoir that stars Mia Wasikowska as the fearless adventurer and Adam Driver as the NatGeo photographer she picks up along the way to document the journey. Though Davidson’s trek begins as the grandest declaration of “ugh everyone just leave me alone please,” the inclusion of the photographer and the many lively human and non-human companions she meets during those 2000 treacherous miles out on the road allow her to open up to a new mindset about what she wants out of her walkabout. Maybe it’s not so bad to have a little company besides the camels?
The film is likely going to get comparisons to another true story of solo adventure out in the great wilderness, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild. Reese Witherspoon stars in this one as Cheryl Strayed, an author who sets off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on the west coast of the United States by herself when her life gets out of control. The trail spans 1,000 miles of rocky terrain, but Strayed was determined to finish the journey just to prove that she could do it herself.
However, the wheels have been in motion for a Tracks film adaptation long before Wild was ever conceived. Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman have both been attached at some point throughout the years to star as Davidson; the film has been in development longer than Wasikowska has even been alive. Now under the direction of John Curran (Pierce the Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore), a man who knows his way around drama, it’s likely that his film captures the pieces of Davidson that made her character and her trek so necessary that a a decades-long fight for a film to even be made was necessary.
Davidson’s story has long enthralled readers not only because of how epic the journey was – 2,000 miles on foot from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean – but because of this massive feat that she accomplished essentially by herself. It’s something that should not be attempted, and yet this young woman completed the walk with what looks like ease. Everybody loves an underdog story.
Our own Kate Erbland reviewed the film back at TIFF 2013 and said, “Scripting and narrative quibbles aside, Tracks is never anything less than intensely human and, quite often, deeply moving.” You can read her full review here.
Tracks is in theaters in the UK April 25, 2014. There is no U.S. release date at this time.