In 1977, a young woman named Robyn Davidson (Wasikowska) decides to cross the Australian Outback with only four camels and her dog Diggity. Driven by a need for solitude and escape, Davidson trains her own camels, and with sponsorship from National Geographic magazine, she sets out from Alice Springs. The American photographer Rick Smolan (Driver) meets up with her at intervals, documenting her dry, dusty adventure.
Curran directs this understated winner with clarity and simplicity, aided by Mandy Walker’s stupendous cinematography of the parched earth and baking desert sun. Adapted from Davidson’s own memoir, the sparse screenplay highlights Davidson’s fierce independence through action rather than dialogue. Wasikowska’s stripped-down performance doesn’t pander to sympathy, although we understand her completely. Over 9 months and 1700 miles, through run-ins with feral camels and local Aborigines, Davidson’s journey is an absorbing, uplifting affirmation of life. You go, Robyn!