Rabbit-Proof Fence – **1/2

Posted: September 18, 2014 in 2002, Australia, Drama, Historical, Social Drama, XX1/2

Western Australia, 1930s. Three half-blood aboriginal girls are taken from their village and sent to a christian camp some 1000 miles more south. Much against everyone’s advice, the oldest one decides to escape and take along her younger niece and sister. And she’s smart, because she erases her traces, so that the aboriginal tracker cannot find them. However intelligent she may be, the journey back home is long and full of dangers…

As usual, the inexperienced child actors are doing an excellent job. It’s surprising to learn that none of them continued with acting. They make the escape and journey feel very real and manage to attract the viewer directly to their adventure. That’s a merit from the director as well of course, who makes this more than just a television movie about a true event from an evil past. In fact, everyone in the cast does an excellent job. There are a lot of important scenes where the images, looks and gestures are louder than the words. Kenneth Branagh, who was the only established actor at the time of its release, also does a good job in portraying the governor, who really believes he takes away the lighter skinned aboriginals for their better good. He’s not necessary a devil as the children call him. He’s a man of principles and strong beliefs.

For those who’ve never heard about the ‘stolen generation’, they are a generation of light-skinned aboriginals who were taken from their families and raised by white people in order to make them integrate more in society. For decades Australians didn’t really know how to deal with this horrific past, but now it’s covered in almost every museum you visit and movies like these helped make people realize how terrible this was.

It’s an important and solid movie that focuses on the persistence of the girls to get back to where they belong. This alone makes this worth the watch. It’s very straightforward and somewhat predictable, but adding more drama and twists would have done the truth injustice. Especially since two of the girls were still alive when this movie came out (and are shown before the end credits roll).


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