The contrast between modern, urban civilization and life in the natural world lies at the heart of Nicolas Roeg's visually dazzling drama Walkabout.
In broad outline, the plot might resemble a standard fish-out-of-water tale: two city children become stranded in the Australian outback, and struggle to find their way back to civilization with the help of a friendly aborigine boy.
But Roeg and screenwriter Edward Bond are concerned with far more than the average wilderness drama, as a shocking act of violence near the story's beginning makes clear. This is particularly true in regards to the relationship between the white children and the aborigine boy, who ultimately develops a troubled romantic attraction towards the older sister.
Obviously intended as a statement on the exploitation of the natural world and native cultures by European civilization, the film nevertheless maintains an evocative vagueness that usually -- but not always -- favors poetry over didacticism.
Most importantly, the film's justifiably acclaimed cinematography is likely to sway even those who find fault with the film's narrative and message. The shift between the sterile city images and the truly stunning, beautifully composed Australian landscapes provide the film's single best argument, making the film a vivid and convincing experience.