This weekend, Tracks is released in UK cinemas. Starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver, it tells the story of a young woman called Robyn Davidson, who trekked 1700 miles across the Australian outback, the journey on camel back taking nine months to complete. Along the way she is joined by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Driver) who begins to document her expedition. The wilderness is endlessly mysterious and fascinating to mankind - both a stark ever-present reminder of our per-civilization past and a dangerous challenge for the adventurous to attempt to overcome, its vast expanses remind us all of our own comparative insignificance. Not surprisingly, its beauty has formed the backdrop - and sometimes the centerpiece - of dozens of movies, stories which capture both its breathtaking awe and cruel, unforgiving harshness. Primal and untouched, man's place in it becomes far removed from the comforts of mainstream society. Here are ten movies which feature the great, unspoilt outdoors - films in which the wilderness itself often becomes a deciding factor in the fate of its characters, an indomitable presence every bit as forbidding and ruthless as any screen villain.
10. The Edge
Lee Tamahori's career hasn't exactly been a notable one - since his early solid drama Once Were Warriors he's now better known for making brainless action films, with Die Another Day (possibly the worst Bond film ever made) and the Philip K. Dick adaptation Next proving that even with decent source material he still churns out sub-standard fare. The Edge, however, is a cut above his other films, notwithstanding the fact that the credit largely goes to David Mamet's screenplay and the lead actors, Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Hopkins plays Charles Morse, a billionaire with a knack for memory, with Baldwin as his friend and photographer Bob Green, who accompanies him to Alaska for a photo shoot with Morse's young wife, Mickey (Elle MacPherson). When their helicopter crashes out in the wilderness, they find themselves contending not just with the elements but also a man-eating grizzly bear - and each other. Mamet's dialogue isn't his best by a long stretch, but The Edge is still a solid, entertaining movie, with a tight plot which trades well in wrong-footing the audience. It's reminiscent of Hollywood circa 1970, in its look as much as its study of masculinity, betrayal and justice.