Rabbit-Proof Fence: The Terrible Trivium

[Screenshot]A comment which seems to be irrelevant here, but give me a chance to tie it in: United 93 has a staggering 92% on RottenTomatoes.com. While it may well be a good film (I haven’t seen it, and I’m not qualified to judge), I think an awful lot of reviewers are downright afraid to pan it, even if it were bad. As a bleeding-heart social-liberal, I feel like I’m put in a similar bind by Rabbit-Proof Fence.

See, the film’s an excellent history lesson, at least for a non-Aussie like myself who doesn’t know much of anything about traditional Australian-aboriginal relations. The villain of the story pretty much explicitly says his goal is the eradication of certain racial phenotypes and the destruction of their traditions. It’s basically cultural genocide, and it’s one of the more tragic moments in Australian history. Unfortunately, the film-makers seemed to think a historical tragedy was, in itself, sufficiently cinematic to need no additional story-telling, and the film suffers therefrom. The plot plods along with little variation, none of the characters develop at all, and it sort of peters out at the end. There’s not much there to really hang a story on, and the tragic circumstances gain no particular weight through the narrative. I’m left disappointed that a weighty topic, one with all sorts of opportunity for thought-provoking conflict, ends up being transmitted through a lightweight story and a simplistic morality.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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