In 1824, eight convicts escaped from servitude in Van Diemen's Land and made a break for freedom. But surviving in unmapped, inhospitable Tasmanian wilderness turned out not to be the walk in the park that they had in mind. After days of wandering in hunger they ended up, quite literally, eating themselves to death.
Van Diemen's Land, expanding on a stage production and a short involving the same team, gives us a feature film Based On True Events. This is actually less gruesome and drawn-out than the lone survivor's version, and there's a reason for that. This is a marvel of economical filmmaking: a story kept deliberately to the necessary minimum, for the most part successfully. It's a film that looks absolutely superb, but can only have been made on a threadbare budget, spent in all the right places by Jonathan auf der Heide (director) and Maggie Miles (producer), both recent film-school grads. I applaud the savvy that went into this accomplished, if somewhat monotonous and limited, colonial horror epic.