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Wake in Fright (1971)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 0

A disquieting classic of Australian cinema, Wake in Fright surveys a landscape both sun-drenched and ruthlessly dark.

100

Average Rating: 9/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 0

A disquieting classic of Australian cinema, Wake in Fright surveys a landscape both sun-drenched and ruthlessly dark.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 2,266

My Rating

Movie Info

Awe-inspiring, brutal and stunning, Wake in Fright is the story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba, planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But, as his one night stretches to five, he plunges headlong toward his own destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Kenneth Cook, Evan Jones

Jan 15, 2013

$49.5k

Drafthouse Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (44) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

Wake in Fright is essential viewing for anyone interested in the roots of male violence.

November 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Conradian parable of a man succumbing to the wild, the film is remarkable for its raw, pointed dithe suggests, and you'll find the beast concealed behind the mask of propriety.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Several decades later, it still chills.

October 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Wake in Fright" is true horror.

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Wake in Fright" is a monster movie, and the monster is us.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wake in Fright is an absolute must-see for fans of cult, off-kilter cinema.

March 12, 2014 Full Review Source: HeyUGuys
HeyUGuys

Blends staged re-enactments with documentary footage of senseless slaughter to extremely distressing effect.

March 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Brilliantly directed by Kotcheff, the film has the disorienting and menacing quality of Joseph Losey films such as Accident and The Servant.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

It presents a world in which refusing a pint has violent consequences, high spirits quickly curdle, and an unspoken homoerotic undertow gets ever more disturbing.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Forms a neatly symmetrical, perfectly Kafkaesque narrative. This way madness lies . . .

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

derives its brand of feral menace not from monsters, masked killers, or any of the other avatars of conventional horror, but rather from a sober-eyed perspective on a society reeling under the malign influence of its own basest impulses.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

There is queasy undercurrent of sentimental kindness and indulgence beneath the violence.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Perhaps slightly schematic in charting the descent of man, but it induces a sweat that's hard to wash off.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

The kindness of strangers has never seemed more terrifying than in this dusty, sun-bleached masterpiece, now stunningly restored.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Throughout we feel like we are watching a real world, with the extensive use of real locations and real outback dwellers, where none of the professional actors breaks the spell.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

Shocking, credible and hard to forget.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Few films were ever so bright and so dark at once.

February 14, 2014 Full Review Source: The List
The List

If you have any interest whatsoever in discovering the true classics of Australian cinema, there are far worse places you could start than with Wake in Fright.

October 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Onya Magazine

Like the majestic camera movement with which it opens, Wake In Fright is a film that travels in slow, inexorable circles, presenting its paranoid nightmare of entrapment as Kafka down under.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Grolsch Film Works
Grolsch Film Works

The movie is a combination of existential horror story (a man winds up in a small-town hell and can't leave) and an examination of male violence and the ease with which men can fall into it.

June 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

This tale of sun-baked savagery has lost little of its audacity or ferocity while it languished unseen.

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: The Grid
The Grid

The raw, sweaty 1971 film is not a pretty portrayal of life in the outback, where men are crude, hard-drinking mates with no ambition beyond rough-house fun...

March 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Brutal, but in a deceptively causal manner, Wake in Fright submits one the sharpest depictions of Outback life I've come into contact with, imagining the vast land as a sun-baked prison from which there is no escape.

December 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Blu-ray.com
Blu-ray.com

A movie that shows us plenty of unsettling stuff but also knows that what viewers imagine is much more disturbing than what any movie can show.

December 13, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for Wake in Fright

Pretty grin viewing. Also a bit of animal cruelty which makes it hard to stomach. Not a bad 70's drama, but once was more than enough for me.
December 24, 2012
romy861

Super Reviewer

this was a blast
October 23, 2012
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

The australian outback shown as a gigantic prison. A claustrophobic and asphyxiating no man's land where only the strong can survive. And no matter how far you can get, how much beer you can drink to forget reality, you're condemned to a cyclic, aimless, tortuous existence.
A must see for people who take pleasure in the raw, allegorical, disturbing and existentialist films that came out in that period of time.
November 5, 2010
pier007

Super Reviewer

One of the earliest entries of the Australian New Wave movement, this is a cracking tale of a middle class teacher who becomes stuck in a, by his ideals nightmarish, small town known as "The Yabba". He's only supposed to spend one night but after losing all his money in a gambling den he becomes trapped, regressing to an almost neanderthal status three days later. The film was though lost but has been re-released in a spruced up print. A must see for fans of Aussie cinema.
September 30, 2012
themoviewaffler.com
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

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