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Walkabout: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]

Jenny Agutter , David Gulpilil , Nicolas Roeg    NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Very few films achieve a kind of subliminal greatness with cross-cultural impact, but Walkabout is one of those films--a visual tone poem that functions more as an allegory than a conventionally plotted adventure. Considered a cult favorite for years, Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film--about two British children who are rescued in the Australian outback by a young aborigine--was originally released in the U.S. with an R rating, edited from its European length of 100 minutes. In 1997, the film was fully restored to its director's cut, and in its remastered video and DVD release, it's now wisely unrated (as Roeg had always intended) but still suitable for viewers of all ages. For parents this is a rare opportunity to treat well-supervised children (ages 5 and over) to an adventure that won't insult their intelligence, presenting scenes of frontal nudity and the hunting of animals in a context that invites valuable discussion and introspection. Through exquisite cinematography and a story of subtle human complexity, the film continues to resonate on many thematic and artistic levels. Roeg had always intended it to be a cautionary morality tale, in which the limitations and restrictions of civilization become painfully clear when the two children (played by Jenny Agutter and Roeg's young son, Lucien John) cannot survive without the aborigine's assistance. They become primitives themselves, if only temporarily, while the young aborigine proves ultimately and tragically unable to join the "family" of civilization. With its story of two worlds colliding, Walkabout now seems like a film for the ages, hypnotic and open to several compelling levels of interpretation. In addition to presenting the film in its original 1.77:1 aspect ratio, the Criterion Collection DVD of Walkabout includes a variety of bonus features, including a full-length commentary by Nicolas Roeg and Jenny Agutter, original theatrical trailers, and an essay by critic Roger Ebert. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

A young sister and brother are abandoned in the harsh Australian outback and must learn to exist in the natural world, without their usual comforts, in this hypnotic masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg (Dont Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth). Along the way, they meet a young aborigine on his walkabout, a rite of passage in which adolescent boys are initiated into manhood by journeying into the wilderness alone. Walkabout is a thrilling adventure as well as a provocative rumination on time and civilization.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle but Powerful Social Commentary July 5 2007
Format:DVD
Walkabout is introduced in the film as an important period in the life of an Aborigine. A time at the age of sixteen or so that the man-child must survive in the bush by himself for six months. If he survives he is a man, if not...well he really isn't anything because he's probably dead. Going into the film my understanding of Walkabout was sort of a break from white society into the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle for a period of time. The other use of Walkabout that I have heard is in reference to a British Monarch or some higher level of person walking around greeting folks in the public. Director Nicholas Roeg seems to understand the various uses of this word as well and ties them in with the maturation of the film's core characters. The parallels make for some very exciting social commentary and the film subtly layers itself and it's characters further and further. For that, Roeg's film in perspective can be seen as two very different kinds of films and split it's audience enormously. One crowd may say that Walkabout is extremely slow and boring while the other crowd will hail the film as a fantastic artistic achievement. Understandably so for both sides I suppose, but I do count myself among the latter group.

Walkabout follows two young English kids, one a fourteen-year-old girl and the other a six-year-old boy (I think) as they are abandoned in the middle of the vast Australian outback. The abandonment itself is quite perplexing and I was fairly confused as to how it was handled, but you'll see that addressing those unanswered questions is not what Roeg's film sets out to do at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intertesting film, just plain different March 6 2004
By Ted
Format:DVD
This is an interesting film and one of the more unusual mainstream films I have seen. Despite the full frontal nudity (obviously non-sexual nudity) It is an overall good film.
A young woman and her little brother are abandoned in the Australian outback by their father who has committed suicide. The two encounter an young aborigine man who is on 'walkabout' a ritual where individuals are sent out to see if they can survive on their own. He eventually leads them back to a populated area.
The original music score by John Barry is superb and sounds very similar to the music he did in the earlier James Bond films.
The Criterion collection DVD has an excellent audio commentary by director Nick Roeg and leading actress Jenny Agutter who was in the film. Jenny Agutter is also well known for her role in the film Logan's Run. This movie
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Caution on where you purchase this item Jan. 12 2013
By Anna
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The star rating is for the seller, BonnieScotland, not the movie.

I love this movie and have wanted a copy for years. I finally ordered, but am very disappointed. I purchased this DVD on Amazon Canada from BonnieScotland. The DVD will not play in Canada and US. I was in contact with BonnieScotland regarding this and although they claimed that this is mentioned on the Amazon site, it isn't. They offered to refund my money if I returned the item, but the return would be more than my refund. I will take the loss.

Be wary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, beautiful, realistic, imaginative Dec 17 2010
By Gary Fuhrman TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
[Update 2014: After writing this review based on a rental Blu-ray, I bought it from Amazon two years later (when the price went down a bit). Later I discovered that some of the Walkabout Blu-ray discs had a manufacturing defect; see the Criterion website for details. If you buy it, and find that it stops working on your player about halfway through the film, you'll need to get a replacement from either Amazon or Criterion. (This is the only Criterion disc I've ever had any trouble with.) But I haven't changed my mind about the quality of this release.]

The 2010 Criterion edition of this remarkable film includes a commentary track and a couple of new interviews with Jenny Agutter and Luc Roeg (billed as "Lucien John" in the film), and these do contribute to our appreciation of it; but the real bonus here is the hour-long documentary on the life of David Gulpilil, who made his screen debut here and went on to many other films. He is one of those rare people with the ability to cross the cultural barriers which are so realistically presented in Walkabout -- and the "One Red Blood" documentary also shows how much this has cost him, indeed how much the colonial invasion from Europe has cost indigenous people everywhere.

Walkabout is just as unusual and disturbing today as it was in 1971. It shines an almost painfully bright light on European-derived civilization by contrasting it with the aboriginal -- yet does not idealize life in the outback at all. Life is harsh on both sides of the divide, as Roeg shows clearly by intercutting ironic parallels between them, and the tragic/ironic ending follows quite naturally from the lack of communication across that divide between the two adolescents.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age in the outback of Australia April 12 2004
Format:DVD
A very unusual film for its time, Walkabout combines many themes in what is ostensibly a tale of survival in the Australian outback. I suppose it was a bit too racy for American audiences as Roeg focuses lovingly on a young nubile Jenny Augutter but that would be missing the point of this movie which contrasts the sterile life of a young British girl and boy with an Aborigine man-child.
The film depicts the initial bleakness of the Australian desert which the two children find themselves thrust into after the father mysteriously chooses to commit suicide, but eventually shows the immense diversity of the outback as the young Aborigine leads the lost children back to civilization. Roeg uses a variety of cinematic techniques to paste together his poetic vision, ultimately developing the sexual tension between Agutter and the Aborigine, culminating in a fateful courting ritual which Agutter appears oblivious too. However, the star of the movie is the little boy, Luc Roeg, who forms a very special bond with the Aborigine.
The film may be too much to handle for small children, but it is ideal for teenagers, as it will give them a very different experience from the run-of-the-mill teen movies that proliferate in the video stores. Don't fret over the R rating, as the nudity is fleeting and treated in a very respectful way. In Britain, the rating is 12 for young teenagers.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Thanks a Lot!!!
Hi..ordered Walkabout from Bonnie Scotland....it does not play in Canada and U.S.....received my copy and tried to play it... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Suds
3.0 out of 5 stars Walkabout
Did not realize this was a european version was unable to watch it on my dvd player. Seller should let customers know this. was disappointed.
Published 12 months ago by Lesley H. Harris
1.0 out of 5 stars walkabout
DONT LET THE OTHER REVIEWS THROW YOU> I honestly thought that the end credits were the best part of this movie. Read more
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Films
Walkabout is simply one of the best films ever made. The photography and editing are exceptional. The sound editing is better than in any other film I have seen. Read more
Published on June 23 2004 by J. Carroll
4.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal ---- except for sound quality
If you regard nature as a transcendant realm that clearly trumps the fragmented, modern world, this film will move you. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by William S. Loughman
1.0 out of 5 stars Walk around this! If it looks like a bad movie . . .
Father takes son and daughter out in the middle of the desert. For some reason that the viewer need not know, he tries to kill them. He fails. Sets fire to the car. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by muskiedine
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for Anyone Who Has Had a Transition
My life has been unusual. I recommend this film for anyone who has been through an experience that they cannot fully (even if they want to) share with other people. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars The antecedents of the new wave in Australian film
If it is hard for you to picture the 1970s with 21st century hindsight, watch this movie. An Australian white teenage girl and her younger brother who find themselves lost in the... Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by Govindan Nair
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