After thoroughly poking, prodding and deconstructing the nature of adultery in his last three features, director John Curran is going on walkabout and getting in touch with Mother Nature in his new adventure drama, "Tracks."
"Tracks" features hot-and-getting-hotter Mia Wasikowska (best known for tumbling down the rabbit hole in "Alice in Wonderland") as Robyn Davidson, a young woman who's apparently living a life she can just toss aside for a while in favor of embarking on a 2,000-mile trek across the West Australia desert ("from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean") with her four camels and faithful dog — simply because, in her own words, "Why not?"
The trailer shows us that what transpires is a grueling journey in which Robyn will, of course, reach something resembling self-actualization as she's pushed to her mental, emotional and physical limits — and maybe indulge in a little kissy-face as well, with young Rick Smolan, played by the man who might very well be our new "Star Wars" villain, Adam Driver.
As the trailer states, "Tracks" is based on a true story. In 1977, Robyn Davidson set out on what ended up being a nine-month trek with her four camels: Dookie, Bub, Zeleika and Goliath. In Alice Springs, she met photographer Rick Smolan, who took snaps of her journey and with whom she had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship throughout the course of her adventure.
Davidson originally had no intention to write about her experience but later agreed to a National Geographic article, published in 1978. The piece ended up being so popular that Davidson expanded it into a book, "Tracks," which was published in 1980 and went on to win the inaugural Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Blind Society Award.
The film adaptation of Davidson's memoir has been in development for 30 years with five attempts in the early 1980s and '90s. Julia Roberts was attached to the project in 1993, though she would go on to star in a different chuck-it-all true story, "Eat Pray Love" (2010).
"Tracks" is a welcome change of pace for director Curran, who seems to have finally told enough tales of infidelity — "We Don't Live Here Anymore" (2004), "The Painted Veil" (2006) and "Stone" (2010) — to the point where he's ready to try something new. Like his heroine Robyn, he's stepping out of his comfort zone and leaving behind familiar territory in favor of challenging himself with the uncharted and unknown.
As for Wasikowska, she continues to command our attention with a series of interesting and unpredictable roles, refusing to become the 'Disney ingenue' she seemed destined for after headlining Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" (2010). She'll next be seen with Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton in Jim Jarmusch's hipster vampire comedy, "Only Lovers Left Alive," opening April 11.
"Tracks" will hit theaters soon.