Page 1 of 3
This long out-of-print cult favorite is one of 2013's first great high-definition releases....
Image / 109 Minutes / 1971 / Unrated / Street Date: January 15, 2013
Martin Scorsese was one of many who spearheaded - or at least publicized - the restoration of Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright, an Australian nightmare of a picture that was originally released more than forty years ago. The Oscar winner saw the movie when it played at the Cannes Film Festival and was totally blown away by it, citing its jagged storytelling and vivid sense of place as major assets.
And now this curio has made its way onto high-definition, and I must agree with Scorsese: Wake in Fright is an uneven picture, but it's an often thrilling one. As we follow John Grant (Gary Bond) as he's veritably trapped in an eerie outback town called Bundanyabba (referred to by its denizen as 'The Yabba'), Wake in Fright unfolds with a dangerous, gin-soaked fever.
The disorienting nature of the film (that adds so wonderfully to its quality as a narrative) is fueled by the binary aspects of hooch and nowhereness. Grant drinks a lot here - almost as much as his neighboring townsmen - and as he descends into the madness at the core of Wake in Fright, this is coupled with The Yabba's nightmarish geography to marvelous ends. The movie as a whole isn't perfect (its middle section is particularly hit-and-miss), but this nevertheless is a major cinematic find.