The Silver Brumby

(John Tatoulis, Australia, 1993)


The Silver Brumby is an adaptation of Elyne Mitchell's famous book. Like many great horses of the movies, this brumby is wild and free, perhaps even a ghost. When not racing across the countryside, he must grapple with other rebellious brumbies or, far worse, a particularly aggro member of the human race (Russell Crowe pre his international fame).

Since many of the best-loved animal stories are inescapably freighted with values that we today see as sexist and racist, the makers of The Silver Brumby have been careful to tip the ideological scales in the other direction. So that women have some part in the story, Elyne Mitchell becomes an on-screen character (played by Caroline Goodall) narrating the tale to her daughter (Ami Daemion). Aboriginal lore also receives a decent mention.

Although the more ordinary parts of the story are sometimes static and clumsy, The Silver Brumby really comes alive when its animals are in full flight. Director and co-writer John Tatoulis gives us magnificent sequences of horses rearing up in a thunderstorm, readying themselves for battle, or launching themselves into an abyss.

And not since The Tale of Ruby Rose (1988) has a film rendered the Australian landscape quite so dramatically and dynamically.

MORE Tatoulis: Zone 39

© Adrian Martin March 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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