Walkabout, released in 1971, was Nicolas Roeg's first solo-directed film after the hallucinatory head-fuck collaboration Performance, but his filmmaking powers had already been fine-tuned by a 20-year career as a cinematographer. Therefore it's not surprising that the story of Walkabout is primarily told through visuals, using the kaleidoscopic editing technique Roeg would employ throughout his career. Walkabout is the story of two children lost in the Australian outback who are rescued by an Aboriginal teen on his rite-of-passage walkabout journey.
Roeg fills the film with powerful visual metaphors, startling imagery and ironic juxtapositions, turning Walkabout into a much larger story than its plotline. Touching on themes of coming-of-age, colonialism, culture shock, alienation in the modern world, and Western culture's confused relationship to the natural world, Walkabout is a powerful art film that still has a lot to say nearly 50 years later. —Ian Adcock