Fortress (1986)

Loosely based on a 1972 incident, a teacher at a rural school in the Australian Outback and her students are taken captive by masked gunmen and led out into the wild.  There, she and the young children in her care must find a way to survive.

Rachel Ward is the school teacher who must keep her students together and alive.  They manage to escape only to be recaptured and then escape again.  Each time, though, they up the ante, until they are finally forced to turn on their captors with homicidal fury.

This is a great movie.  People question the ransom plot – and no one would claim that these guys were criminal masterminds – but that is beside the point.  This is about a group of school kids and their turn toward the brutality that they find thrust upon them.  The overall tone is somewhat subdued by today’s standards, but shockingly violent for a made-for-television movie from the 1980s.  In either regard, it has aged well.  This is a suspenseful ride with enough twists along the way (even if one or two are a bit far-fetched) and a good payoff at the end.

Stars: 4.5/5



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