Stars: *** 1/2
Rating: PG for emotional themes
Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Director Phillip Noyce tugs at the heartstrings and nearly severs them with a true story of an aborigine family who defied an indifferent nation.
child is every parent’s worst nightmare.
(Everlyn Sampi), age 14, her younger sister Daisy Craig (Tianna Sansbury), 10, and their cousin Gracie Fields (Laura
Monaghan), 8, are the product of native aboriginal mothers and the white
fathers who have abandoned them. Living in peace in the rugged outback of
with forced labor or restraint, the spirited Molly engineers a group escape
from the high-security facility, and the trio begins their arduous journey
home. Without maps or a compass to guide
them, the girls simply follow the rabbit-proof fence (stretching from the north
to south coasts of
Hot on the girls’ heels is master aboriginal tracker Moodoo (David Gulpilil), whose desire to do as he is told conflicts with his innate feelings about the girls’ dire situation and their common cultural backgrounds. Fanning the flames of bureaucracy is pompous Chief Protector of the aboriginal people, Mr. Neville (Kenneth Branagh), who mistakenly presumes that expunging a vividly diverse aborigine culture is in his country’s best interest.
of tension-filled escape/incredible journey films such as Cornel Wilde’s “The Naked
Prey” (1966), “The Great Escape” (1963), and “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), “Fence”
revels in the agonizing intricacies of surviving against all odds. Noyce utilizes simple, stylish camerawork and
spare dialogue to deliver pregnantly poignant anguish, while the landscape
commands the action in all its unforgiving severity. The concept of obliterating an undesirable
third race is rife with horrific implications that too closely resemble