Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


TIFF Review: Emu Runner

A 9-year old Aboriginal girl grieving the loss of her mother forms a spiritual bond with the fast running emu.

Gem (Rhae-Kye Waites) runs to her father but is not fast enough to save her mother.  The experience haunts the elementary school student who has to deal with a single parent struggling to cope and an inexperienced social worker; the only thing that provides her solace is the determination in being able to catch an emu that leads to some trouble with the local law enforcement.

Nature plays a big role in the visuals which is appropriate considering the spiritual connectivity that Aboriginals have with land.  Rhae-Kye Waites provides a solid emotional anchor to the story as well as Wayne Blair who portrays her father; however, the role of Georgia Blizzard as the social worker comes across stereotypical.  Filmmaker Imogen Thomas skillfully addresses the importance of family and children dealing with grief in manner that is not preachy.   There is unnecessary dialogue when the Gem confesses something to her sister which had already being successfully implied by her actions.

A nice musical moment occurs when the sound of guitar leads to an Aboriginal playing the instrument in a bus shelter.  The finale race is formulaic but still provides a satisfying conclusion.  Thomas wastes no time in the narrative developing the relationship between Gem and the emu which allows it to become deeply embedded into the storytelling.  The cast is kept small so there is an opportunity to get to know the characters.  Emu Runner is good family entertainment which also has something meaningful to say.

Check out our TIFF coverage

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

Next PostPrevious Post


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.