Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Everlyn Sampi
Tianna Sansbury
Laura Monaghan
David Gulpilil
Kenneth Branagh
Tianna Sansbury.
Directors
Phillip Noyce.
Screenwriters
Christine Olsen.
Running Time
93 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Miss Julie
2 Star Empire Rating
Second Mother, The
4 Star Empire Rating
No Escape
2 Star Empire Rating
Ricki And The Flash
2 Star Empire Rating
Dope
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Rabbit-Proof Fence
True story of how three Aboriginal girls, separated from their mother in 1930s Australia by the authorities, walked 1,500 miles home.


submit to reddit


Plot
Australia in the 1930s: a law exists stating that 'half-caste' children must be separated from their Aborigine families. But when three young girls are snatched by the government and taken to an institution 1,500 miles away from home, they escape and begin the long walk home.


Review
Phillip Noyce - best known for thrillers 'Dead Calm, Patriot Games' and 'The Bone Collector' - returns to his Australian roots for this captivating tale that could have ended up as a soppy Sunday-afternoon-on-Channel-Five film in the hands of another director.

Noyce, however, while obviously moved by the plight of these Aboriginal children, wisely decides not to wring every moment for maximum weepie effect. Instead he simply illustrates the true story with stunning locations and subtle performances that themselves are enough to break your heart by the end credits.

As the three girls make their way across the unrelenting countryside, using the wire fence that cross-sections Western Australia as a guide, the young actresses - all making movie debuts - relate the anguish, determination and fear of their characters with performances that would make any experienced, adult actor proud.

The real surprise, though, is Branagh. His character, A. O. Neville, the government's Chief Protector of the Aborigines, was the man responsible for taking 'half-caste' Aborginal children away from their parents to train as domestic servants and labourers (he believed that preventing children of mixed marriages from marrying Aborigines would eventually wipe out the Aboriginal race).

Neville could have been depicted as an evil caricature for easy effect, but instead Branagh gives him some humanity so that, while we hate his point of view and methods, he still comes across as a man (albeit a very misguided one) rather than a pantomime villain.

In the end, though, the achingly sad story really belongs to the girls, and especially to Everlyn Sampi, who plays Molly, the most determined of them all. And when Noyce shows us the real Molly and her sister, now both in their eighties and living on the land they were so desperate to return to, you realise the most inspirational movies don't have to have swirling music and Hollywood stars to bring a real tear to your eye.


Verdict
Low on schmaltz and with three terrific performances from the girls, this is a moving and fascinating look at a piece of recent history that most Australians would probably prefer to forget.


Reviewed by Jo Berry

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Rabbit-Proof Fence
Empire Star Rating

A touching and well made movie

I have no idea about this story nor how recent it was. Scary to think that a western nation could still have such policies as those portrrayed here. The movie is well recommended for its rather shocking story and its heart rending journey following 3 young children as they attempt to escape home. Special mention to the Peter Gabriel Soundtrack. Its incredible and worth seeing the movie for this soundtrack alone, with a recommended listen to a track called 'Cloudless'. Really a fine movi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Atomhammer at 13:42, 18 February 2011 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)