Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rogue (2007)

Wolf Creek won lots of hearts, but for me it was an above-average example of a genre I don't tend to like.  For my money, Greg McLean's best film to date is this giant killer croc opus.  We open with those quirky Australians and their wacky ways.


But quickly shift out attention to this tourist boats, full of reps from the important nations.  They're out to view some salties, but disaster strikes as it often does.  These scenes set the table for the rest of the movie and it's easy to be impressed with how skillfully Rogue establishes its many characters.  A movie like this tends to have a big cast and limited time for non-animal action, so it's to this film's credit that it's peopled with memorable characters.  Very reminiscent of Hatchet in this respect.


But it's a more serious film than Hatchet, as the croc-human confrontations are made more fraught by the rising river.  This is a survival story, very much in the vein of The Reef or Open Water, but probably most akin to the former in its pursuit of bleak thrills.  


The film opts for the best approach when dealing with its monster and we mostly see the crocodile in quick flashes and murky shadows.  When it's finally revealed, it's impressive, so don't worry that CGI will let you down again.  Rogue is nothing if not professional.


There's a lot to like about this movie: its monster, its deft handling of character, and the masterful use of Australian landscapes.  Even if you dislike crocodiles eating people, you can still love this film for its study of big beautiful skies.


***1/4

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