When an interrogation of some bush blacks turns into a massacre, paranoia sets in, and the question becomes not will the fugitive be caught, but what is black and what is white and who is leading whom?

Watch The Tracker: Tuesday April 28, 10pm (NITV)

4.5
An unmissable film from Rolf de Heer.

The film opens with a painted landscape – and this is signficant because paintings by Adelaide artist Peter Coad are integrated into the action of the film to historify events and to move the violence from realistic representation. Into this landscape come four men – four archetypal characters. They are the Fanatic (Gary Sweet) a government trooper who is heading an expedition to find an Aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman. Others in the expedition are the Follower (Damon Gameau) a greenhorn trooper, the Veteran (Grant Page), and the Tracker (David Gulpilil).

Like a tapestry unfolding the film charts the attitudes, the shifts and balances of power within the group as if it were the history of white settlement here. Along the way are confronting scenes of violence. But at the heart of every scene is the Tracker.

Graham Tardif composed and Archie Roach sings on the soundtrack and it was one of the most emotional film experiences of my life to see The Tracker with Roach performing live at the opening of the Adelaide Festival.

De Heer’s use of Coad’s paintings adds an uncanny power to the film, strangely making the violence more meaningful, more tragic, taking away any notion that’s it’s only a movie. David Gulpilil brings important heart to the film. De Heer’s screenplay and direction has extraordinary compassion despite the violence. It’s actually a film that’s important not to miss.

 

 

Watch 'The Tracker'

Sunday 29 August, 9:50pm on NITV / Streaming after broadcast at SBS On Demand
Monday 30 August, 1:20pm on NITV

M
Australia, 2002
Genre: Drama, History, Western
Language: English
Director: Rolf de Heer
Starring: David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Grant Page, Damon Gameau

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
TV Movie Guide: 30 August - 5 September
When it comes to movies, there's something for everybody on SBS, SBS VICELAND, NITV and SBS On Demand. Find out what's screening where and when.
SBS World Movies Weekly Highlights: 30 August - 5 September
Your guide to some of the stories from around the world, screening on Australia's own HD SBS World Movies channel (Digital channel 32).
This and That: Lock in some family time with ‘The Thief Lord’ and the ‘Wildwitch’
As home schooling and, well, home everything stretches on for who knows how long, SBS On Demand offers two great family films.
Aaron Wilson on dislocated identity and what it means to be a man in 'Little Tornadoes'
The 'Canopy' director discusses working with author Christos Tsiolkas, the long shadow of war and the unreasonable expectations placed on Australian men.
SBS On Demand Spotlight on India
SBS On Demand is putting a spotlight on cinema from India, whether it be an emotional drama, a searing crime thriller, a comedy or a Bollywood blockbuster, there's something for every mood.
Finding family amid the flowers in 'The Rose Maker'
'The Rose Maker', starring Catherine Frot as a determined rose grower, is not just about the chase for beauty but about making connections, too.
Why we love Jackie Chan
With a new documentary hitting SBS and SBS On Demand, we break down the mirthful martial artist’s undying appeal.