Walkabout - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Walkabout Reviews

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½ July 8, 2016
A timeless film that handles topics of love, family, tolerance, prejudice, coming of age, and violence in a way that it should be made mandatory for all students (junior high level would get the most out of it, but there is much for younger and older children as well). At the heart is the relationship between a young boy (the director's son) and a teenage girl (Jenny Agutter) who had been shielded from the harsher aspects of life, but through a consequence of events must explore the world eyes opened and unprotected. The love between brother and sister (and the parental responsibilities of the sister toward the brother) will touch your heart. If you have a sibling (especially a younger brother-older sister relationship) this film is a must see. There are also scenes of violence against animals that can be disturbing but they are presented to introduce such facts of life to the audience. Since it would be impossible to shield such acts in other films or TV, this film is excellent to introduce discussion. This film is on my list of must-see movies. It contains breathtaking cinematography. The subject matter of the movie forces us to confront differences between the modern world and the primitive world; yet it underscores similarities between the two cultures. There are also some very nice techniques used in this film - for example the screen wipes used as the small boy relates a story to the older boy. A thought provoking film shot from, and that looks at the world from, a perspective that is rarely seen in cinema. It's good enough that I'd seriously consider it to be included on a short list of films that I'd be allowed to have if stranded on a desert island.
June 19, 2016
Beautiful, mysterious and wonderfully captured
May 30, 2016
I am never watching another Nick Roeg film again.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2016
A walkabout is a ritual in Aboriginal culture where a boy between the ages of 10 to 16 lives off the land alone for up to six months. This explains how the Aborigine boy comes to find the White girl and boy, as these characters do not have names. How the two English siblings ended up in the harsh wilderness of the Australian Outback alone are displayed but why their father experiences a mental breakdown and tries to shoot his son with a gun is unexplained. The Aborigine then leads the two around the Outback, the girl presumes back to "civilization" but the Aborigine seems to enjoy their company too much to return them. In a very unique way, the English boy and girl are on their own walkabout, thrown into the unforgiving terrain of the desert and left to fend for themselves. This is basically the story to Nicholas Roeg's 1971 film "Walkabout."
The Aborigine boy is portrayed by David Gulpilli and at the time of filming the film could not speak English. He lives in a different culture and world where he is percieved as a man. He lives off the fruits, animals and finds water in the land. The White girl is portrayed by Jenny Agutter and the White Boy is portrayed by Roeg's son Luc Roeg. After their father sets their car on fire and then shoots himself, the girl takes it upon herself to lead her and the boy for help. They're trapped in the desert and have no survival skills whatsoever. Luckily the Aborigine knows what to do and he shares his food and water with the two.
This is a contrast story of two very different cultures and Roeg edits scenes in a way to compare and contrast different ideas and cultures.
The Aborigine and the girl have complicated feelings for one another. The girl on the one hand wants to return home, but on the other she doesn't seem to truly trust him or understand his ways. Her younger brother is able to communicate with him through sign language and other means. The Aborigine starts to develop sexual feelings for the girl and he hopes to fornicate and perhaps that's why he never truly leads them to help.
Nicholas Roeg was both cinematographer and director for the film. The film has beautiful compositions and beautiful landscapes full of animals from the Outback.
January 20, 2016
Perhaps Roeg's best film. A rich and mysterious meditation on communication, as well as the social barriers that divide and entrap them.
December 19, 2015
Watch it, one of the best survival movie!
December 19, 2015
Very good, A classic film.
½ November 28, 2015
One of those arthouse films that deserves its title, there aint much story. Just really beautiful shots of desert. It isn't trying to beat you over the head with symbolism its just made to take you on a journey with stunning cinematography
½ July 30, 2015
Nicolas Roeg's true directorial debut is filled with ideas and unique perceptions. A brother and sister escape the insanity of their troubled father to find themselves in the wilds of The Australian Outback. The title of the film comes from The Aboriginal concept of a male's journey to adulthood.

And with the assistance of a young Aboriginal boy in the middle of his "walkabout" -- the siblings journey through adversity and mystery toward their own adulthood.

Along the way cultural differences cause confusion and alarm. It is a film about survival thanks to human kindness. But more than anything it is a startling view of how racism and cultural differences are so engrained, no amount of human kindness can make them go away.

A beautiful and tragic experimental film about both the strengths and flaws of the human condition.
½ July 3, 2015
Majestic and haunting
June 29, 2015
Even those who do not like Walkabout, will still remember it, mainly scenes they didn't fully understand. Granted it is dated and editing and directing skills were hardly used by a master, but the story is the key, it is not literal, more up to you what you feel. Having watched this film for a second time, I am less a fan of the 'white mans human race'.
June 28, 2015
Roeg's solo-directorial debut and the start of his incredible flawless streak of 1970s films. On the surface, this is a film about two English children (Jenny Agutter and Roeg's son Luc) trapped deep in the desert when their father kills himself and the young aborigine (David Gulpilil) who helps them survive. Roeg has a superficial endorsement of nature over civilization at the surface of the film, but there are hints of a Herzogian distrust of nature bubbling beneath the surface. Like all of Roeg's best films, there's an even deeper logic to the film that isn't centered on the characters or the narrative but more on the flow of his incredible imagery. The experiences of the three young characters, framed by a pair of suicides, transform them in ways that make sense, but not exactly on a level you can explain in words.
½ January 25, 2015
A good lost-in-the-bush survival story, but it doesn't really work as a cohesive film with a narrative, as far as I'm concerned. How they get stranded is not fully explained, with the Dad going nuts, but then along comes Gulpilil in his first role to save the two English siblings. He's been in far better films since & the contrast between the Outback and metropolitan Australia has been explored better too. The final 25min are odd and - even allowing for ti being the 70's - it definitely seems pervy in parts, and has a fair bit of nudity for a M-rated movie. Decent effort, but better Aboriginal/Australian bush films have been made since.
½ January 21, 2015
I liked this film. There was a sense of foreboding, though it was subtle, from the beginning. I was somewhat disappointed with the end, but the more I think about it, the more I feel the end of the movie was just the beginning of another story
January 9, 2015
Also maybe my favorite movie.
November 29, 2014
Two English children from Sydney are taken into the Outback for a picnic by their father who then goes mad and tries to shoot them. The oldest daughter runs away with the much younger brother and hides behind a rock while the father shoots himself in the head and the car blows up. The daughter sees this but the boy does not. They run away into the desert and find a water hole where they encounter an Aborigine boy about the same age as the girl. They take a series of adventures in this
harsh landscape unable to communicate with each other, The boy helps them survive and falls for the English girl. A film full of symbolism and messages about colonialism and communication. The tragic ending is heartbreaking. Starring the beautiful and enigmatic Jenny Agutter in an amazingly frank performance. Unforgettably haunting.
½ November 20, 2014
A random walk in the desert.

That's pretty much what this movie is. Starts randomly, continues randomly, ends randomly. The start was so implausible - clearly just a plot device to get the kids lost in the desert - that you have forewarning that this is not going to be a great movie.

From then it's just random occurrences, some of which never get linked to the main plot. (Eg I still haven't figured out what the horny scientists and their balloons had to do with anything).

I could have liked this even if it turned out to be what I suspected it was going to be: am overly politically correct essay on the clash of cultures between whites and native Australians. But, while it shaped up to be that one stage, that theme pretty quickly disappeared. However, we did have the director's massive overuse of jarring match cuts just to keep remind you about it, without progressing the discussion or actually saying anything constructive about it.

Similarly, the director had a secondary urban vs rural sub-theme going through the movie, all through jerky back-and-forth match cuts. Yeah, yeah, we get it, and got it early, so no need to keep reminding us: city bad, country good, whites bad, natives good.

Nope, the main plot is pretty much a random one. Kids stranded in desert, wander around, random things occur, meet native boy, wander around, random things occur.
November 20, 2014
A masterpiece, that now even 43 years after it's release still doesn't look quite like anything else in cinema. Walkabout on one hand could have been played as an adventure film, Roeg uses his aesthetic to create a far more existential piece, that brings up pivotal questions regarding civilization, communication, and human durability. Roeg's experience shooting Lawrence of Arabia is very apparent here, as he captures a majestic beauty of the Outback, that is made all the more impactful when interspersed with grotesque images of death and decay, that are more provocative than tasteless. Roeg was probably the best British filmmaker of the 70s, and this is probably his best film.
November 17, 2014
WOW......WOW.....WOW.....BRILLIANT......AMAZING......FANTASTIC......I have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a great movie 2 watch......its got a good cast of actors/actresses throughout this movie......I think that John Illingsworth, John Meillon, David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg, Jenny Agutter, play good roles/parts throughout this movie......I think that the director of this classics/drama/adventure/action movie had done a great job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie......





The film is noted for its cinematography and is interspersed with numerous images of Australian plant and animal life, along with its varied landscapes. The director often uses those images to emphasise events in the plot and set the emotional tone, most notably during the violent scene involving the rifle hunters.[original research?]Though many of the events are improbable in a natural setting-in one scene a wombat wanders past the sleeping children in the middle of a desert-they create a backdrop of a populous, varied environment. In Walkabout, an analysis of the film, author Louis Nowra wrote:


"...I was stunned. The images of the Outback were of an almost hallucinogenic intensity. Instead of the desert and bush being infused with a dull monotony, everything seemed acute, shrill, and incandescent. The Outback was beautiful and haunting."

Film critic Edward Guthmann also notes the strong use of exotic natural images, calling them a "chorus of lizards".

Critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the great films." He writes that it contains little moral or emotional judgment of its characters, and ultimately is a portrait of isolation in proximity:


"Is it a parable about noble savages and the crushed spirits of city dwellers? That's what the film's surface suggests, but I think it's about something deeper and more elusive: the mystery of communication."

Commenting on the film's enduring appeal, in 1998 Roeg described the film as:


"...a simple story about life and being alive, not covered with sophistry but addressing the most basic human themes; birth, death, mutability."

At the online review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 93% based on 27 critical submissions, with an average rating of 8.2 out of 10 (showing however, as of 31 January 2013, "no consensus", on the site's Tomatometer.)




man this is such a classics movie 2 watch......it is such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is so beautifully directed movie 2 watch, with a great cast throughout this movie.....its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.....man this is such a fantastic movie 2 watch,






Walkabout fared poorly at the box office in Australia. Critics debated whether it could be considered an Australian film, and whether it was an embrace of or a reaction to the country's cultural and natural context.

The film is an example of Roeg's well-defined directorial style, characterised by strong visual composition from his experience as a cinematographer, combined with extensive cross-cutting and the juxtaposition of events, location, or environments to build his themes. This use of intellectual montage creates symbolism by juxtaposing two shots that are not literally connected.[original research?]For example, in one scene the Aboriginal boy is seen killing and dismembering a kangaroo, a passage interrupted by several brief clips of a butcher at work in his shop



man this is such a brilliant classics movie 2 watch, I think that this is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch, it is such a sad movie 2 watch, it is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie.......
August 20, 2014
A real entry in the alternative filmmaking of Australia, Walkabout discards dialogue-driven story conventions in favour of a storybook-style manner of fiction.
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