On assignment in the Northern Territory, American travel writer Pete (Michael Vartan) joins a small group of tourists on a typical river cruise in salt water crocodile country, operated by tour guide Kate (Radha Mitchell). During a short detour, their boat is almost overturned by a violent jolt from underwater, and they drive the leaking boat aground on a small island, but out of radio contact with base. They soon realize they have stumbled into the territory of a huge, possessive salt water croc, who sets about viciously collecting a harvest of food to store in his cavernous lair, while the survivors search desperately for a way off the island - before high tide and the night close in.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Rogue is a ripper of a thriller. From its evocative, economical title to its bright and breezy end credits pop song (Never Smile at a Crocodile) Rogue delivers everything you could want from a high class creature feature/adventure thriller. Sensational images of the Northern Territory (bookings are assured) counteract any nerves that potential tourists might have about croc danger, and give us a cinematic joy ride, helped aloft by Francois Tetaz' wonderful, rich and melodic orchestral score. The music also adds a couple of million dollars worth of grandeur.
But ultimately, it's Greg McLean's triumph, a cohesive piece of writing and direction that finds exactly the right mix of commercial and creative balance to bring in a movie that can charm and scare us by turns, that offers credible characters and an unmistakable Australian ethos - and still accommodate an American guest star (Michael Vartan, who turns out to be a good bloke). All the performances are grounded and McLean doesn't allow the US dollars to shake his hold on veracity - either in characterisation or in plot. In fact, with the exception of one piece of inconsistency (which I can't go into without giving away a crucial plot point), McLean doesn't put a foot wrong, increasing the tension in masterful fashion, always credibly, always in touch with the characters.
Radha Mitchell is totally captivating as the young tour guide, delivering a great mix of confident Territorian and sensitive human being. She and Vartan work well together, and the gentle romantic undercurrent is neatly handled. John Jarratt, McLean's baddie from Wolf Creek, is a tubby, grieving widower, while Sam Worthington plays a lout with a heart of gold in style. Indeed, all the supports are tops, notably a darkly comic Stephen Curry and edgy Damien Richardson.
Superb cinematography and production design complement McLean's sophisticated cinema skills (and Jason Ballantine's faultless editing), often demonstrated in small and simple things like detail shots and framing, and most importantly in a film like this, what NOT to show. Rogue will chew up the box office - deservedly.
DVD special features include documentaries on The Making of Rogue, mini-docos, special effects, the music and the Northern Territory.
Published May 29, 2008
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ROGUE: DVD (M)
CAST: Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, Stephen Curry, John Jarratt, Robert Taylor, Heather Mitchell, Mia Wasikowska, Geoff Morrell, Celia Ireland, Damien Richardson
PRODUCER: Matt Hearn, David Lightfoot
DIRECTOR: Greg McLean
SCRIPT: Greg McLean
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Will Gibson
EDITOR: Jason Ballantine
MUSIC: Francois Tetaz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robert Webb
OTHER: John Cox Creature Workshop; Fuel (VFX)
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 8, 2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of ROGUE Documentary; The Making of ROGUE Mini-Docos; Special Effects; The Music; The Northern Territory
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
DVD RELEASE: May 29, 2008
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