Wake in Fright (1971) Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson Movie Review

Wake in Fright (1971)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Chips Rafferty and Gary Bond in Wake in Fright (1971)

One of Us

With the teaching year over John Grant (Gary Bond) heads off on train, stopping in the outback mining town of Bundanyabba for a one night stop over. But on the first night he meets local officer Jock Crawford (Chips Rafferty) who not only shows him the town but likes to knock back a few jars and tell a tale or two. It is whilst Jock is showing John around that he meets Doc Tydon (Donald Pleasence). But that one night becomes another and another till it becomes five and John is no longer the man he was .

Fascinating more than entertaining is how I would describe "Wake in Fright" as it is the sort of movie that once you start watching you can't stop but it isn't the sort of movie you would probably choose to watch due to its nature. What I mean by that is what you get in "Wake in Fright" is the destruction of the educated John Grant by a community he ends up in. We watch how on the first night the kindness of one man sees him not only end up blind drunk but also gambling all his wages away. On another night we see one of the few women in the area try to seduce him as he is different to everyone else. And so on with each day and act of kindness turning John more and more into one of these locals who spends drinking and acting irresponsibility. All of which is as I said fascinating but not in the least bit entertaining.

Donald Pleasence in Wake in Fright (1971)

Now what is for certain is that "Wake in Fright" has its share of memorable scenes but any movie which features actual scenes of a real kangaroo hunt is not easily forgotten. Nor is a movie which features Donald Pleasence as a drunken Australian doctor who drinks as much as the locals and is just as bad as some of them. It is a fascinating performance from Pleasence and in truth good performances from all involved in what must have been quite a difficult movie to make due to its examination of a way of life.

What this all boils down to is that "Wake in Fright" isn't a piece of entertainment; you don't put it on because you want to pass some time. But it is a fascinating movie which you just can't stop watching when you start with this look at a way of life and how easy it is to be drawn in to it. To put it simply if you enjoy sitting around and discussing a movie after you have watched it then "Wake in Fright" will give you plenty to discuss.