Friday, June 13, 2014

Post Apocalyptic Theater: The Rover

Ten Years After the Collapse.

Looking back on the film, this really sets the tone for the next hour and forty five minutes.  This is a sparse movie, cutting the plot and exposition to the bone, leaving a tale as rawboned and gaunt as the characters.

It tells you nothing you don't absolutely need to know, like the nature of the Collapse.  It doesn't matter.  Shit is so far gone that nobody cares about how it got that way anymore.

I'm pretty sure that this is the latest in a trend in movies, where the funding comes from governmental agencies, tied to the promise by the filmmaker to ensure that they show off the beauty of the land, presumably to encourage tourism.  As a result, despite the sparse nature of the film, it feels maybe ten or fifteen minutes too long.  Without that extra time, though, it's doubtful the movie would have gotten made, and it's a fair trade for the wide open views of Australia.  The vivid colors that float above the dry and dusty brown where the humans live.

The result is something that feels like a cross between the Road Warrior, but with the breadth and scope of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.  It's a movie that showcases the beauty of the land, even as mankind roots about in its own shit.  It's as much a slow seduction as a film - it pulls you in, teasing you with beauty and ugliness combined, innocence and damnation, black humor and bleak realism.

As for the acting, Guy Pierce is Guy Pierce.  'Nuff said.

The real surprise, though, is Robert Pattinson.  It's unfortunate that he cut his teeth in Twilight - this is twice now that he's surprised me.  While Cosmopolis was ultimately forgettable, he stood out, and here again he disappears into his role, perhaps even more so than in Cronenberg's weak outing.  The range of acting on display in his role is nothing short of remarkable, and really drives home the ending.

It's a testament to the directors of this film that you are sucked into the movie to the extent that you assume the same intensity as Guy Pierce's character.  The hows and the why's fall away, leaving you only with the Now.  You stop asking questions. You accept situations with the same equanimity that you do the introduction - Ten Years After the Collapse.  You quickly realize that it doesn't matter.

It's not until the end that you're reminded that some things do matter, and all of a sudden, you reevaluate everything that has come before, and only by seeing the distance between your perceptions at the beginning and the end of the film, only then do you understand what it truly means to live in that world.

1 comment:

  1. War... war never changes. And human society, it never changes. There will be social order until the last survivor dies alone in whatever den they found themselves before they succumbed to whatever damage will kill them. Everything else is an illusion. Before the was money, there was the social order, prescribed by the Code of Hammurabi in Mesopotamia. It used the same system of the contract and the financial obligation that we pretty much used today, for example, you would pay 130 sheep for a wagon, and if you need until next spring to pay off the debt, you will owe 165 sheep. If you refuse to honor your obligation, you would be burned alive, which was the only punishment for any infraction of the code, no matter how trivial. They did not have a concept of stealing or of thieves. Burglary was called: "Looting another person's home". The contracts were written out in cuniform and those were stored in the Temple. There were times of great war and famine since then, and there was never a "Post Apocalypse", only periods of unrest, and the illusion of anarchy. Like in the burned out ruins of the German cities in WW2, where people hid out from the Nazi authorities and from the draft, came out in the middle of the night to loot as yet unbombed stores and homes, murdered witnesses to avoid the death penalty. These burned out city blocks were off limits to the Nazi soldiers and police after dark, and after the war, these areas became a refuge to Nazis fleeing allies, and once again, they became off limits to the allied soldiers, but this post-Apocalypse only lasted from 1944 until 1947 or so, and the hero survivors of the Apocalypse became bandits, convicted felons with moderate prison sentences, unless the field tribunals ordered them shot for looting and murder. Even today we have our own survivors living out their Apocalypse, but to us they are gang members and drug cartel thugs etc. It's all a question of where you at.

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