Rabbit-proof Fence

An Australian western with epic sweep directed by Phillip Noyce and dealing with the stolen generation of aboriginal children who were torn from their families by misguided state functionaries. It’s based on a true story about three girls taken from their mother in 1931 and sent to a state-run facility a thousand miles away; they escape and set off for home on foot, dodging the law en route. The story is so black-and-white that one feels like hissing the villain (Kenneth Branagh) and cheering the heroines, but the simplicity of the telling seems warranted. David Gulpilil, the aboriginal star of Walkabout, is memorable here too. Adapted by Christine Olsen from a book by Doris Pilkington and shot by the matchless Christopher Doyle. 94 min. (JR)

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