A Dab of the Yabba’ll Do You In

Keeping the dream alive by beginning to include entries from an input log kept now for months.

30 Jul 2013: Wake in Fright (DVD, 1971, Ted Kotcheff)

First shot – a 360-degree pan across a barren piece of the Outback – sets the tone for the existential crisis to come. Struck me as a little more exploitative than it did in the theater a few months ago (flat yet blown-out characters, horrible events, all pointing toward increasing terror as an end), but the actors play their limited roles very well, and the black humor and situational universality (to which gambling and wastelands invariably lend themselves) maintain engagement and resonance. However calculated the lengthy kangaroo sequence may be, its power doesn’t diminish; it leads to reflections on screen violence and our reaction to it as much as on the pet food industry for which it was actually (supposedly) performed. Some interesting editing for a final rush of horror near the end, though this time it felt a little forced at that point in the story.


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