The Austin Chronicle

Instant Classic

Paramount Theatre's Summer 2000 Series

By Marc Savlov, May 19, 2000, Screens


D: Nicolas Roeg; with Jenny Agutter, Lucien John, David Gulpilil, John Meillon. (PG, 95 min.)

The Australian outback as seen through the eyes of stranded school kids Agutter and John (Roeg's son) is a crawling bipolar disorder of breathtaking beauty and remote, inhospitable inhumanity. Very much of its time, Walkabout reminds you of Koyaanisqatsi -- Roeg smashcuts between the aboriginal Gulpilil slaughtering a kangaroo for dinner and a butcher hacking away at a slab of meat -- though there's a flagrant touch of the early Seventies in this oddly sterile film. Before he directed The Man Who Fell to Earth and Don't Look Now, Roeg was honing his eerie, Spartan style in the outback with this film; it's a doozy, all creeping bugs, sixth-form school uniforms, and a nicely nude Agutter (who would later go on to An American Werewolf in London, Logan's Run, and Equus.) Part prescient ecologic fable, part culture clash, and pure Roeg all the way, Walkabout fairly defines the word "haunting." (9/5-6)

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