The Rover and the five best films about the darker side of Australia…
On Monday (January 5th), director David Michod’s wandering, intense epic The Rover comes to DVD. The film, which stars Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson and the consistently brilliant Guy Pearce, takes up 10 years after a global economic meltdown. The Australian outback is now a murderous wasteland, a wasteland where Pearce’s Eric makes his living, a living that is interrupted when some thieves take his car. Hell bent on revenge, he kidnaps Pattinson’s Rey, one of the thieves’ brothers, making him his unwitting accomplice as he sets out to find his car.
Bloody, raw and very violent, Michod pulls absolutely no punches with this strange thriller, and all this talk about the darker side of the land down under got us thinking, what are the best films that show off that off? So we picked out five of the best of them…
Australia is largely portrayed as a land of sun, sea and good times, but if you want an insight into something much, much darker, then it’s all there in Snow Town. Telling the story of the notorious Snowtown murders, the film follows 16 year-old Jamie, who falls in with his mother's new boyfriend and his crowd of self-appointed neighbourhood watchmen as they commit a series of ever more heinous acts.
It’s a difficult watch and stomach crippling at many times, but if you can cope with the graphic nature of the crimes then this is an essential watch. The performances are superb and the material handled sensitively.
From murderers to Neo Nazi skinheads, this 1992 low-budget drama stars a young Russell Crowe as the key man in a gang of white supremacist thugs. Concerned that their neighbourhood is changing, the gang decide to take action by savagely beating up local Vietnamese immigrants, attacks which lead to a stand-off and a bloody fight.
It’s raw, very violent and brutally shot, but it remains an incredibly compelling drama and well worth a watch.
Eric Bana leads this 2000 cult classic about Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, a kind of Australian Charles Bronson, he’s violent, he’s definitely unhinged, but a very compelling character. The film follows him as he enters prison, almost dies at the hand of a former friend, gets released and then eventually ends up back in prison after getting into more scrapes. This sounds bleak and tough, but it’s actually delivered with a wry wit and gives the film more laughs than most promised comedies normally muster.
Before he made The Rover, David Michod made his name with this 2010 drama. It tells the story of Joshua ‘J’ Cody who moves in with his estranged grandmother passes away, a grandmother who also happens to be the matriarch of Melbourne’s deadliest criminal family and his life is firmly and thoroughly turned upside down.
It’s another brutal watch and very, very violent, but also absolutely gripping.
Set in 1931, this 2003 movie chronicles the effects of the then government policy of taking mixed race children away from their Aboriginal mothers and sending them a thousand miles away. Three girls, Molly, Daisy, and Grace (two sisters and a cousin who are 14, 10, and 8) decide to escape and make their way home, through the arid, dangerous and wild outback, struggling to survive as they make their way.
Another difficult watch, but absolutely gripping too.
The Rover is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (January 5th).