The Tracker

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The Tracker
The Tracker poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by Rolf de Heer
Produced by Rolf de Heer
Julie Ryan
Written by Rolf de Heer
Music by Graham Tardif
Cinematography Ian Jones
Edited by Tania Nehme
Distributed by Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
Running time
98 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Box office A$818,388 (Australia)[1]

The Tracker is a 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.


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.

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.



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]


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]

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

Awards Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(2002 AFI Awards)
Best Film Julie Ryan Nominated
Rolf de Heer Nominated
Best Direction Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Actor David Gulpilil Won
Best Editing Tania Nehme Nominated
Best Cinematography Ian Jones Nominated
ARIA Award Best Original Soundtrack Album Graham Tardif Nominated
ASSG Award Best Sound Won
AWGIE Award Best Film - Original Screenplay Rolf de Heer Won
Cinemanila International Film Festival Best Actor David Gulpilil Won
FCCA Awards Best Film Julie Ryan Won
Rolf de Heer Won
Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Actor David Gulpilil Won
Best Editing Tania Nehme Nominated
Best Cinematography Ian Jones Won
Best Music Score Graham Tardif Won
Ghent International Film Festival Grand Prix Award Rolf de Heer Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
Inside Film Awards Best Feature Film Julie Ryan Won
Rolf de Heer Won
Best Direction Nominated
Best Script Nominated
Best Actor David Gulpilil Won
Best Music Graham Tardif Won
Best Cinematography Ian Jones Nominated
Best Sound Nominated
Paris Film Festival Press Award Rolf de Heer Won
Screen Music Award Best Original Song Graham Tardif Won
Valladolid International Film Festival Jury Special Prize Rolf de Heer Won
Golden Spike Award Nominated
Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Award - Honorable Mention Won
Golden Lion Nominated


The Tracker
The Tracker soundtrack by Archie Roach.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Released August 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

Country Date Format Label Catalogue
Australia August 2002 Mushroom Records 334932

See also


  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.

External links

  • The Tracker on IMDb
  • The Tracker at the National Film and Sound Archive
  • The Tracker at Vertigo Productions
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