Monday, July 27, 2015

Mini Review: Wake in Fright (1971)

When it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, ‘Wake in Fright’ received generally excellent reviews. It also made a lasting impact on a young, and relatively unknown film-maker by the name of Martin Scorsese. However, poor domestic box-office returns subsequently caused the film to fade into obscurity for several decades. Thankfully, ‘Wake in Fright’ was restored in 2009 and released on DVD and Blu-ray later that year, finally giving it the exposure it deserves and captivating a whole new generation of film audiences. 

An Outback schoolteacher’s brief stopover in a quaint mining town quickly turns into an intense and nightmarish journey into a world of temptation, exploiting the primary desires of man. ‘Wake in Fright’ is a highly sensory experience full of striking symbolism and metaphor. The eerily isolating outback setting is photographed beautifully, and places viewers firmly in the protagonist's shoes. The film’s portrayal of a particular aspect of our culture is unsettling, but very accurate and far from dated. I consider ‘Wake in Fright’ to be one the best Australian films ever made. 

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