By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)
You’ll think twice about stealing from this guy, he just won’t let it go. A story by Joel Edgerton and written, directed by David Michod sees people moving to Australia ten years after a global economic meltdown. In the film three robbers flee from a botched job and crash their car. Unable to start it back up, they steal a mysterious man’s car along with his belongings. The man is Eric played by Guy Pearce, however he won’t just let them take his belongings so he takes their car and goes on the chase.
The film straight away hits with a bang in a well-executed car sequence with a noticeable intense score which you’ll hear more of throughout this mesmerizing, middle-of-the-road film. As Eric catches up with the criminals he lets them know that he can’t let them take his car. They get away by way of knockout, however Eric has a way of finding them because one of the robber’s brother, Rey played by Robert Pattinson got left behind. He’s been shot and left for dead so once Eric gets him some medical help, Eric threatens to kill Rey unless he helps to find his brother and get the car back.
The film for me was hypnotic. It plays off the silences that exist in people’s company sometimes like 2011’s Drive did so well. The dialogue is limited, but when you hear it and see the intensity in Eric’s eyes, you know something will happen if he doesn’t get what he wants. He’s extremely motivated and won’t take things lying down.
It’s a slow-burner and doesn’t go down a typical thriller-like route. Instead the film stays pretty grounded, relying on smooth shots of the environment and fantastic interaction between the two main characters. Guy Pearce plays it unbelievably serious, looking like a man who has lost a lot in his life. Pattinson is transformed from previous roles and plays a simple soul who doesn’t quite understand certain things like why he was left behind by his brother. This role will do nothing but open more big doors for Pattinson in the future as he’s fast becoming a real star.
The detail of what happens in the plot isn’t a factor for me, it’s the way the director chooses to show the story, the surroundings and the characters on film. It has an almost grainy-like texture with the color of the desert being shown by way of people’s clothes, cars, and houses. The quiet existence of the place where the film is set is very strong and you get the real sense that the world is not what it was.
My score for the film is 87%. Lowest mark for pacing, highest for direction. It forced my eyes to be glued to the screen by creating a believable post-apocalyptic world in which a bad situation occurs. A definite must-see in this year of great dramatic films like Joe and Frontera.