I just added this review to our The Rover Review Roundup, but the article needed a separate post. This is a fantastic read. Someone who actually appreciates David’s talent for incredible filmmaking. I know David will be embarrassed by this accolade, but you know I speak the truth and well others see it too. Here’s a few extracts, but you should seriously do yourselves a favour and head on over to FashCam and read the entire article:
“… And while my choice for the best film of the year hasn’t appeared on many reviewers’ lists, and received only a very short run in theaters, I feel a critical responsibility to bring this minor masterpiece to greater attention. The Rover, directed by David Michôd, is one of the most ambitious, well-crafted and compelling films I have seen. Michôd, whose debut film, the Australian kitchen-sink gangster saga, Animal Kingdom (2010) galvanized cinephiles and critics everywhere, here ventures forth in an even more experimental direction, though one no less rooted in genre. If Michelangelo Antonioni had directed Mad Max from a script by Cormac McCarthy, it might have looked something like The Rover. And if that isn’t a searing endorsement, I don’t know what is. This is one of my favourite films of this past year and it deserves extensive analysis.
The greatest praise I can shower on The Rover is that it invites us as viewers to pay attention, and moreover to pay attention to how we pay attention to films. Critics who condemned the film for its simple plotline are wide of the mark. Simplicity does not mean simplistic, and the film’s nominal plot is a frame for some of the most ambitious experiments in characterization, cinematic rhythm and genre revisionism in recent years.
Michôd’s direction enlists art film strategies such as temps mort, or “dead time,” those moments where the viewer’s experience of boredom is pushed to a kind of threshold and we begin to pay equal attention to our own act of viewing an artwork as much as now noticing new facets of mood or style or atmosphere we might not have experienced otherwise. In “indie,” or art cinema, such strategies are hardly uncommon and one can find precedence in the works of Dreyer, Bresson and Antonioni – but here Michôd is working within a relatively more mainstream context and so must play the precarious game of holding certain shots and moments to a kind of threshold of attention before the audience loses interest and becomes bored. Fortunately, the film is so well calibrated in its formal operations, so subtly textured and conceived, we are robustly engaged throughout by novel variations and modulations in tone and plot development.”
Click on the link above to head on over to FashCam and read the rest of this insightful analysis of David’s film.