Rabbit Proof Fence

Sympathy plays an immediate role and connects the audience to the characters when the story is revealed with veracity. Phillip Noyce adapted a true account of Aborigine children born into a ‘lost identity’ because their parents were of mixed descent. Using cinematic and thematic tools, Noyce was able to captivate an audience further into his film.

Torturously, an audience watched as young girls were taken from their native mothers to a camp for assimilation into a white society. An echoing reminder that these events actually happened by starting with sympathetic points of view from the main character, Molly. Noyce used this cinematic standpoint often with Molly. When she feared, the audience could as well. I had noticed in one other instance a point of view from a different character, Moodoo. An Aborigine worker for the camp who ironically strived for assimilation but used his native tactics in finding the girls when they had run off. Perhaps, using this type of view from only these characters showed that they indeed had a special connection that led back to their roots.  Their conflict led to an undoubted respect.

Whether a fad of the time or for specific reason, Noyce and his editing team used crossfades as a way to break into each scene. The aesthetic purpose gave attributes to being alone and far into the wild.

The events in the film unfolded with ease and gave audience members a smooth transition to surprises and plot changes. One way of ease, is using foreshadowing to predict major events. Using symbol to foreshadow, the film starts with an eagle in the sky, a connection Molly’s mother had made to her. In dire need of strength and motivation it is an eagle that persuades Molly to trek ahead at climax.  Character traits occurred with Molly and her special skill for hunting  within the first few minutes which proved necessary for leadership survival in the bush throughout the film. The story continues to reveal how characters can relay themes as well. Gracie, Molly’s younger cousin was shown willing to assimilate and exemplified uncertainty in leaving. This same hesitation and naiveté would later prove harmful. Yet, audiences could relate to the fear many of us possess and seldom overcome.

A subtle theme within the film showed how religion between the different habitants of Australia could be compared. Religion on the surface should define goodness and promote love and kindness. However, as depicted within the a ‘superior’ culture the Christian religion, rather than a tool for love and kindness, was used to properly depict it as a method for forced assimilation. A universal facade broken down to show that evil (whether or not intended) can exist within an organization. Christian prayers and hymns was something to conform and perform. While more subtle, the Aborigine used their  prayer and hymns to give comfort and display their grief of losing their children.

Audiences will find different elements that stand out them, either in relation or disapproval. Noyce made it easy to find sympathy for the young girls and satisfaction when he ended the film with home footage of the girls as elderly woman living the life they intended from an early age. This story gives influence in fighting for justice and rebelling against those who only think they know whats good for you.


One thought on “Rabbit Proof Fence

  1. LAURAEXPLORESCINEMA, You have a really mature writing style. I felt as though I was reading a review written by a well established critic. Your were able to identify many cinematic techniques. I enjoyed the way in which you described the techniques Noyce utilised in his film, and in turn, I was able to get a better understanding of some the terminology.
    I found your paragraph on religion quite interesting. Religion was definitely a major contributor to lives of the children in the missions. I’m glad Noyce was able to convey this theme throughout his film.


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