Rabbit-Proof Fence Movie Review
Of the three movies I saw this weekend, one movie stood out far and above them all, and that was Rabbit-Proof Fence, the drama based on the real-life story of three Aboriginal girls who traveled hundreds of miles to get back home.
In the 1930's, the Australian government enacted a law to "help" half-white, half-Aboriginal children filter into "civilized" society by removing them from their homes and placing them in camps to train them as good little Christians. Rabbit-Proof Fence focuses on three girls who escape from the camp and attempt to make it back home, even though that means crossing over a thousand miles of desert. They find their way by traveling along the rabbit-proof fence, a fence that spanned the entire country to - you guessed it - keep out the rabbits. Their village just happened to lie on the edge of the fence, and so it was a guide back home. Unfortunately for them, however, the man in charge of the "saving the half-castes" (Kenneth Branagh) attempted to make sure that the girls were returned to the camp.
Rabbit-Proof Fence is an amazing story that is told incredibly well. Director Phillip Noyce does a superb job of capturing the inner characters of the girls as they face tremendous hardships along their journey. The true story is a wonder in itself, but this movie is also exceptional. The imagery, music and feel of the film is breathtaking, and the performances all around are first rate.
Very little else can be said other than the fact that no one should miss this little gem. It is only an hour and a half long and works at so many levels, as a family film, a drama, a thriller and more.
My only complaint is that Noyce perhaps edited out too much. The first twenty minutes seemed abruptly edited, as if he were scared of boring the audience; there is very little leading into one scene after the next; the audience is forced to realize things on their own. It isn't an incredibly hard task, but a minor flaw that stood out.
Rabbit-Proof Fence is one of the better movies of 2002 and should not be missed by people of any age. It is a said yet uplifting tale of Australia's dark and not-too-distant past.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.