The Tracker

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The Tracker
The Tracker poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by Rolf de Heer
Produced byRolf de Heer
Julie Ryan
Written byRolf de Heer
Music byGraham Tardif
CinematographyIan Jones
Edited by Tania Nehme
Distributed by Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
Running time
98 minutes
Box officeA$818,388 (Australia) [1]

The Tracker is an 2002 Australian drama film directed and written by Rolf de Heer and starring David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet and Damon Gameau. It is set in 1922 in outback Australia where a racist white colonial policeman (Sweet) uses the tracking ability of an Indigenous Australian tracker (Gulpilil) to find the murderer of a white woman.

In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

Rolf de Heer film director, writer, producer

Rolf de Heer is a Dutch Australian film director. De Heer was born in Heemskerk in the Netherlands but migrated to Sydney when he was eight years old. He attended the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in Sydney. His company is called Vertigo Productions and is based in Adelaide. De Heer primarily makes alternative or arthouse films. According to the jacket notes of the videotape, de Heer holds the honor of co-producing and directing the only motion picture, Dingo, in which the jazz legend Miles Davis appears as an actor. Miles Davis collaborated with Michel Legrand on the score. He is the subject of the book Dutch Tilt, Aussie Auteur: The Films of Rolf de Heer by Dr D. Bruno Starrs. A comprehensive study of his films to date, Dancing to His Song: the Singular Cinema of Rolf de Heer by film critic Jane Freebury, is published in ebook and print.

David Gulpilil Australian actor

David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM, is an Australian traditional dancer and actor.



1922, somewhere in Australia. An Aboriginal man is accused of murdering a white woman, and three white men (The Fanatic, The Follower and The Veteran) are on a mission to capture him with the help of an experienced indigenous man (The Tracker).

As they travel through the rugged Australian outback, each suffers under the stern hand and racist attitude of The Fanatic, who will stop at nothing to bring the accused to justice, even if that means sacrificing the others to reach the goal.

Outback Area in Australia

The Outback is the vast, remote interior of Australia. "The Outback" is more remote than those areas named "the bush" which is any location outside the main urban areas.

Meanwhile, the motives of the tracker remain elusive, and despite their relentless pursuit the men always seem to be a half-day behind their quarry.

After the death of one of the men, and a surprise mutiny, what endgame awaits for the group, and the enigmatic Tracker to which they have entrusted their survival.


Gary Sweet Australian actor

Gary Sweet is an Australian film and television actor known for his roles in Alexandra's Project, Police Rescue, Cody, Big Sky, Bodyline, Stingers and House Husbands.

Damon Gameau Australian actor

Damon Gameau is an Australian television and film actor who is the director of, and lead role in, That Sugar Film. Gameau also appeared in the Australian series Love My Way, the 2002 Australian film The Tracker, and in a small role in the US series How I Met Your Mother.

Grant Page is an Australian stuntman who worked mostly during the seventies and eighties. Page was the stunt coordinator for the popular Australian action movies The Man from Hong Kong (1975) and Mad Max (1979), as well as other Australian and overseas films including the cult horror flick Death Ship (1980). He starred in the 1970s Australian TV series Danger Freaks, which, while ostensibly a documentary of his professional work with various stunt performers, emphasized the spectacular visual results from these collaborations. Grant featured in a cameo appearance in the Blur music video M.O.R.


The film was shot in the semi-arid, rugged Arkaroola Sanctuary, in South Australia's Flinders Ranges. De Heer used an intentionally small film crew, saying that “It's all a much better process ...”. [3] The film is intercut with paintings by Peter Coad which portray brutal actions not shown, while the lyrics of the soundtrack (written by De Heer) form part of the narrative, and are sung by Archie Roach with music composed by Graham Tardif. [4]

South Australia State of Australia

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of less than 30,000.

Flinders Ranges mountain range in South Australia

The Flinders Ranges are the largest mountain range in South Australia, which starts about 200 km (125 mi) north of Adelaide. The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km (265 mi) from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna.

Archie Roach Australian musician

Archibald William "Archie" Roach, AM is an Australian musician. He is a singer, songwriter and guitarist, as well as a campaigner for the rights of Indigenous Australians.


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has a score of 88% based on reviews from 33 critics, with an average 7.1/10 rating. [5]

Rotten Tomatoes American review aggregator for film and television, owned by Fandango

Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance.

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four calling the film "haunting" and the performances "powerful". [6] David Stratton described the film as "remarkable". [7]

Awards and Nominations

AACTA Awards
(2002 AFI Awards)
Best Film Julie RyanNominated
Rolf de Heer Nominated
Best Direction Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Actor David Gulpilil Won
Best Editing Tania Nehme Nominated
Best Cinematography Ian JonesNominated
ARIA Award Best Original Soundtrack AlbumGraham TardifNominated
ASSG Award Best SoundWon
AWGIE Award Best Film - Original ScreenplayRolf de HeerWon
Cinemanila International Film Festival Best ActorDavid GulpililWon
FCCA Awards Best FilmJulie RyanWon
Rolf de HeerWon
Best DirectorNominated
Best ScreenplayNominated
Best ActorDavid GulpililWon
Best EditingTania NehmeNominated
Best CinematographyIan JonesWon
Best Music ScoreGraham TardifWon
Ghent International Film Festival Grand Prix AwardRolf de HeerNominated
Best ScreenplayWon
Inside Film Awards Best Feature FilmJulie RyanWon
Rolf de HeerWon
Best DirectionNominated
Best ScriptNominated
Best ActorDavid GulpililWon
Best MusicGraham TardifWon
Best CinematographyIan JonesNominated
Best SoundNominated
Paris Film Festival Press AwardRolf de HeerWon
Screen Music AwardBest Original SongGraham TardifWon
Valladolid International Film Festival Jury Special PrizeRolf de HeerWon
Golden Spike AwardNominated
Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Award - Honorable MentionWon
Golden LionNominated


The Tracker
The Tracker soundtrack by Archie Roach.jpg
Soundtrack album by Archie Roach
ReleasedAugust 2002
Genre World, folk
Label Mana Music, Mushroom Records
Archie Roach chronology
Sensual Being
The Tracker
The Definitive Collection

A Soundtrack was released in August 2002. The album is credited to Australian musician Archie Roach. The soundtrack won best soundtrack at the 2002 Film Critics Circle of Australia. [8]

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2002, the album was nominated for ARIA Award for Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album [9]

Track listing
  1. "Wide Open Spaces" (instrumental) - 1:20
  2. "Far Away Home" - 3:41
  3. "Trouble Coming" - 2:22
  4. "Approaching" (instrumental) - 0:29
  5. "My People" - 3:49
  6. "After the Valley of Sorrow" (instrumental) - 0:29
  7. "All Men Choose the Path They Follow" - 5:16
  8. "Walk to Destiny" (instrumental) - 1:45
  9. "The Chain" - 2:18
  10. "A Spear" (instrumental) - 1:05
  11. "Contradiction" - 2:02
  12. "Life Matters" - 0:44
  13. "Friction" (instrumental) - 1:15
  14. "Gungalaria" - 3:16
  15. "Hanging Tree" (instrumental) - 0:40
  16. "My History" - 3:45
  17. "Drowning" (instrumental) - 2:02
  18. "Hope Always" - 4:27

Release history

AustraliaAugust 2002 Mushroom Records 334932

See also

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  1. "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office", Film Victoria accessed 13 November 2012
  2. Wilson, Jake (Winter 2002). "Looking Both Ways: The Tracker". Senses of Cinema..
  3. "Production Notes (The Tracker)". Vertigo Productions. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  4. Ebert, Robert (2006). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2007. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 708–709. ISBN   0-7407-6157-9.
  5. "The Tracker (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes .
  6. "The Tracker". Chicago Sun-Times.
  7. (Retrieved 30 May 2008)
  8. "The Tracker Soundtrack Audio CD - performed by Archie Roach". amazon. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  9. "ARIA Awards – History: Winners by Year 2002: 16th Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 28 September 2018.