18 May 2020

Bring On The End Times

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I don't know about you but once we get over the shock of having to eat each others face-meat to survive, I think the apocalypse will be pretty good fun. Just imagine the disappointment of all those fundamentalist Christians who thought they'd ascend to Heaven only to find themselves still stuck down here and forced to shit into a hole like the rest of us. What an absolute laugh that'll be. We could taunt them the way they've been taunting gay people for thousands of years. “Come on now God boy, shit in a ditch because Jesus didn't love you”. Also, fuck society. It's a piece of shit anyway. The only way that most of us are getting the deposit to buy a property is by selling off our kidneys and then renting out our arse-holes to some rich sugar daddy who insists on calling us “little piggy” in case using our real names humanises us too much for him. But with society gone and us all scrabbling around in the same old dirt it'd no longer matter which class you were born into or what cunty connections you made at your snobby piece of shit private school. All that would matter is the size of the rock in your hand, how hungry you are, and how much you like the person that's between you and that delicious looking rat. I also think it'd be nice to have a bit of structure in my life. Right now I'm sort of treading water having spent the last directionless decade achieving an impressive sweet fuck all. I like the idea of knowing that as long as I'm not being splayed open and feasted upon by a rabid hillbilly gang of cannibals by the end of each day then I might close to experiencing a sense of achievement for once. 

For some context, I wrote all of that before the Coronavirus pandemic took place. I have a backlog of blogs in my drafts and I couldn't be arsed writing a new one for this week. But clearly what we're going through right now is not quite what I had in mind. I want something that leads to biker gangs and road warriors and not just middle-aged women beating the shit out of each other in Aldi over the last packet of fucking bog roll. This situation is not the great leveller that I was hoping for and the one that we're constantly being told that it is. If it was then we wouldn't be seeing a higher death rate amongst both the elderly and the working classes whilst somebody like Madonna is filming a video in a bath laced with rose petals as a harp plays soothingly in the fucking background. Although as films featuring Madonna go it still managed to be less offensively awful than fucking Swept Away was. Anyway. "Why did past me mention all of this again?", I ask my former self...

I only mention all of this because I've just caught up with the 2014 post-apocalyptic drama The Rover. And by "just" I mean a few months back when I thought I was choosing to stay in to watch films for fun. As it turns out I was practising for life during this pandemic and so ultimately training to save lives. Well done me. It (and by "it" I mean The Rover) starts with a title card explaining to us that the movie is set ten years after the collapse of society, but doesn't go into any further detail as to how that might have happened (bat-AIDS apparently). Based on how things are going right now though, I can almost guarantee that whatever happened would have been the result of a bunch of fucking racists being allowed to vote on some shit that they don't have even remotest fucking understanding of (ah Brexit. So nostalgic for that right now). I can't wait for the cannibals to crack open these people's thick fucking skulls to scoop out what little fucking brains they find before mushing them into fucking goop and using it as fucking lube (God I was so angry. At this point I'm so desperate for human contact I think I'd quite enjoy having my head caved in if I'm honest). I know that The Rover is meant to depict a dystopian wasteland because of how few people seem to be left. But people are fucking horrible. I genuinely listen to YouTube videos of ambient zombie noises as I go to bed each night because nothing brings me more peace than thinking I won't have to deal with people ever again (during the first few days of lockdown and when the streets were completely deserted I'd even go out jogging to the score from Dawn Of The Dead to get into this fantasy). If there's an event that wipes most of us out and all I have to do is slum it for a few decades before dying of hunger and having wasps lay eggs into my fucking eyes then count me the fuck in (this will seem less funny in about a week when the only detail I got wrong turns out to be that I said wasps instead of killer fucking hornets). 

The Rover (Oh yeah, we're talking about a film) is pretty light on story which is one of the many things that it was criticised for at the time of its release. Set in Australia, the film begins with a broken and gruff looking Guy Pearce having his car stolen by a gang of thieves who are in the middle of fleeing from another botched robbery. Like me in my twenties, Guy Pearce has little on his schedule beyond living with depression and then eventually dying (oh how things have changed for me...) and so he decides to go after them to get it back. That's pretty much the film, to be honest. He does seem pretty angry about it though. It's like that bit in Pulp Fiction in which John Travolta says that it would have been worth somebody keying his car just so that he could catch them doing it to enjoy exacting his revenge on them. In Travolta's case I imagine that would be to force them into massaging his anus, but with Guy Pearce here it seems like things will get a little bit more shooty-in-the-fucking-heady. In case you don't get the Travolta comment then I should explain that a lawsuit was filed against him by a masseuse in 2012 claiming that, “Travolta would open his legs and spread his butt cheeks open and had a full erection and would manoeuvre in a way to try to force Doe Plaintiff No.2 to touch his anus and around his anus”. I mean would you rather live in this world in which some poor minimum wage masseuse is being forced to touch a rich man's poop chute or one in which you can murder a person for stealing your car? Because quite frankly I'd rather be shot in the head by Guy Pearce than have to stare into that dark fucking abyss of John Travolta's holiest of holeys. Although at least we now finally know what John Travolta expects from a five-dollar shake. 

Eventually, Pearce also teams up with an injured and slightly simple-minded Robert Pattinson who claims to know where the gang of car thieves will be hiding. From that point on The Rover takes on an Of Mice And Men-style dynamic but even better really because I wasn't forced to read this over and over again at fucking school. You might think as well with me having described it as a car-focused apocalyptic revenge movie set in the outback that The Rover owes a debt to Mad Max. But it doesn't really. Mad Max is a lot more high adrenaline in terms of action with its weird world and collection of madcap characters being a lot more fucking gonzo. The Rover is more of an old fashioned Western with Guy Pearce's silent and unnamed anti-hero being the genre's typical lone gunslinger out to avenge his perceived injustice. Even the world has a more western-like vibe to it with it not quite having fallen entirely. There's still shops, and bars, and currency (in retrospect I don't remember seeing any toilet roll or hand sanitiser to be fair). People aren't quite as sparse as they seem in 2015's The Survivalist or even 2009's The Road. Everything is just a lot more desolate with the law being virtually non-existent. The lack of any radical story was never an issue for me because I was quite happy to just take this road trip with Pearce and Pattinson to see the intricacies of how their broken society still just about functions. Call it research for my five-year plan I guess. It was nice. It seemed peaceful ("five years" suddenly seems quite optimistic though doesn't it?). Sure the odds of having your brains shot across the fucking wall seem to have dramatically increased but I work in a scummy little place called Birkenhead. There's always a risk of that fucking happening anyway. 

This film is the second feature from David Michôd following on from his debut masterpiece Animal Kingdom which is probably the reason that it's slipped through the cracks a little. Juggling chainsaws is an impressive trick but if you do it after shitting out a pot of gold then it's going to seem a little anti-climatic and get a little forgotten about. In that metaphor, The Rover is the juggling chainsaws as opposed to the shat out pot of gold. Obviously. But it's still entirely worthy of being seen and talked about because of how distinct and brilliantly well done it is. A few people had an issue with the very end in which the film culminates as a sort of unexpected punch line. Going back to Travolta, it's a little like his film Blow Out in which the denouement reveals the film to have also been the set up to a pitch-black joke. But with The Rover, I did find it funny. And touching too because of what it was, but funny (look at me suddenly running out of jokes and becoming annoyingly earnest here. I'll probably resort to just swearing in a minute as I panic I might lose your attention). The way the end reveals itself was one of those moments in which the penny dropped and I shouted, “oh fuck off” at the screen but in a good way. “Oh fuck off” as in I'm very impressed and not, “oh fuck off” as in I fucking hate people and I'd rather live during an apocalypse than talk to you (fucking told you). Those final few moments also allow Pearce's character a shred of humanity that had only been hinted through his opening up to Robert Pattinson on their drive. Opening up emotionally I mean. Not like Travolta on a massage bed. One negative review described the movie as, “bleak, brutal, and ultimately pointless” with another saying that, “the destination doesn't feel worth the journey”. I fully agree too but only if you were to apply those reviews to human fucking life. Fucking hit the button and nuke us all, I say. I don't mind dying as long as you fuckers have to come with me (to be fair I still stand by this). Whilst we wait for that to happen though you can do a hell of a lot worse than chilling out for two hours and watching this movie. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time (probably).

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