Aussie filmmaker David Michod proves his mettle with his second effort, The Rover, releasing today for home viewing. A spare, brutal, deliberately paced dystopian adventure, the film marks another in a string of fine performances from Guy Pearce, and more interestingly, a worthwhile turn from Robert Pattinson. Michod knows how to get under your skin, how to make the desolate landscape work, and apparently, how to draw strong performances.
An excellent pairing would be Michod’s phenomenal first effort, Animal Kingdom. This 2010 export follows a newly orphaned teen welcomed into his estranged grandmother’s criminal family. Unsettlingly naturalistic, boasting exceptional performances all around – including the Oscar nominated Jacki Weaver – and impeccably written, it’s a gem worth seeking.
The Drop opens this week, another of Dennis Lehane’s gritty crime dramas, this time starring the great Tom Hardy alongside the late, great James Gandolfini in his final performance. We’re eager to screen the film about a botched heist later this week, and thought we’d prepare for it with some of cinema’s best robberies gone wrong.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Sydney Lumet’s excellent Seventies true tale covers what may be the oddest bank hold up ever. Al Pacino’s Sonny and his skuzzy friend Sal (John Cazale) hold up the Chase Manhattan in Brooklyn to pay for Sonny’s boyfriend’s sex reassignment surgery. Excellent writing feeds wonderful performances all around, but be sure to check out the documentary The Dog, proving that the real perpetrator, John Wojtowicz, exceeds all weirdness expectations.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Thirtysome years later, Lumet returned to the scene of a crime with his magnificent final effort. Family dysfunction has never looked quite like this, when two brothers (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) decide to rob their parents’ jewelry store. Surprising, devastating, and full of exceptional performances, it was a fitting send off for one of America’s finest filmmakers.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
In 1992, Quentin Tarantino announced his presence with authority. His directorial debut takes us inside a botched jewel heist, introducing us to a modern filmmaking master, and taking classic rock radio to new and creepy heights.
The Town (2010)
Ben Affleck stars and directs this Boston crime tale about a thief who falls for a bank teller. He shows the ability to orchestrate ensemble drama and action that would mark his Oscar winning Argo, and draws truly excellent performances from Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper, the great Pete Postlethwaite, and even Blake Lively. Who knew?
Animal Kingdom (2010)
This Aussie export of the same year follows a newly orphaned teen welcomed into his estranged grandmother’s criminal family. Unsettlingly naturalistic, boasting exceptional performances all around – including the Oscar nominated Jacki Weaver – and impeccably written, it’s a gem worth seeking.