Rabbit-Proof Fence is an Australian film by Philip Noyce, based on a true story, about three young Aboriginal girls who, upon being forcibly relocated to a southern settlement, escape and walk the 1,500 miles back to their native village. It’s an incredible story, but after seeing the film, I wasn’t too overwhelmed by it, or at least, as much as I expected to be. The film ultimately ended up being very moderate, although the high level of realism helped the film along immensely.
The film is very truncated; not much depth is gone into as to how these girls manages to survive during their journey, or even how they managed the journey itself, but that might be a good thing, as it keeps the film from getting too stagnant. The film creates a lot of conflicting emotions; part of me empathized with the girls’ predicament and rooted for them to find their way home, and part of me understood the white men’s intentions of trying to civilize and cultivate the girls for a better chance at life, even if it wasn’t the most morally upstanding option. That may seem a bit repugnant, but I’ve always been able to empathize and understand movie characters, even the bad guys, and to simply fall into the niche presented as the “right” and “good” mindset is too blinding and tunnel-visiony for my tastes.
The film’s unbelievable sense of mood is what makes the film work more than anything, and it’s helped along by an ever-pervasive and perfectly attuned score by Peter Gabriel. I don’t know if this is really a must see before you die, and really, I can’t even say I was happy to have gone through the experience. Still, it was short, so I can’t complain too much. I’d bet there’s a good number of people who will take to this film rather well, and while I wasn’t disappointed with the film, I can’t say that I am one of them.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10