ROGUE

PART ONE

CAST
Radha Mitchell                        Kate Ryan
Michael Vartan                        Pete McKell
Stephen Curry                         Simon
John Jarratt                              Russell
Caroline Brazier                      Mary Ellen
Sam Worthington                    Neil
Damien Richardson                 Colin
Robert Taylor                          Everett Kennedy
Geoff Morrell                          Allen
Celia Ireland                            Gwen
Heather Mitchell                      Elizabeth
Mia Wasikowska                    Sherry
Barry Otto                               Merv

CREW
Writer/Director                        Greg Mclean              
Producers                                Matt Hearn
                                                David Lightfoot
                                                Greg Mclean
Executive Producers                David Lightfoot
                                                Bob Weinstein
                                                Harvey Weinstein
Cinematographer                     Will Gibson                
Editor                                      Jason Ballantine
Production Designer               Robert Webb
Art Director                             Lucinda Thompson
Composer                                Francois Tetaz
Special Effects             FUEL International
                                                John Cox and The Creatures Workshop

PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION
Production Companies            De Narry Sothcott Entertainment
                                                Emu Creek Pictures
                                                Village Roadshow Pictures
                                                The Weinstein Company
Distributors                             Atlantic Film (Sweden)
                                                Distribution Company (Argentina)
Golden Village Entertainment (Singapore)
Medyavizyon (Turkey)
                                                Odeon (Cypress and Greece)
Roadshow Entertainment (Australia)
Third Rail Releasing (USA)

(IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479528/fullcredits#cast)
(Offical Site: http://www.roguecrocodile.com)

RELEASE DATES
Latvia                          31st August, 2007
Spain                           6th October, 2007        (Sitges International Festival of Fantastic and Horror Cinema)                                    
                                                      9th November, 2007    (Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema)
                                    4th April, 2008             (General)
Australia                      8th November, 2007
Turkey                         28th December, 2007
New Zealand               14th February, 2008
France                         20th March, 2008         (Gérardmer Film Festival)
30th July, 2008                        (General)
Kuwait                                    3rd April, 2008
Singapore                    4th April, 2008
UAE                            17th April, 2008
Bulgaria                       25th April, 2008
USA                            25th April, 2008           (Limited)
Hong Kong                 1st May, 2008
South Africa                9th May, 2008
Argentina                    26th June, 2008
France                         30th July, 2008

(IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479528/releaseinfo)
(Box Office Mojo: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=rogue.htm)

BUDGET
$26,900,000 (AUD)

(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_%28film%29)

BOX OFFICE
Australia                      $1,800,000 (AUD)
Worldwide                  $2,752,323 (AUD)

(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_%28film%29)
(Inside Film: http://www.if.com.au/News/View.aspx?newsid=862)
(Box Office Mojo: http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=rogue.htm)

OTHER INFORMATION
Run-time                     93 mins (92m in USA)
Camera                        Sony HDW-F900
Film Format                35mm
Aspect Ration              1.85:1
Rating                          Australia: M. USA: R. Singapore: NC-16

(IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479528/)
(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_%28film%29)

AWARDS
Andrew Helen, Dave Morley, Jason Bath and John Cox won the 2007 Australian Film Institute Award for Best Visual Effects.
Greg Mclean was nominated for the 2007 Awgie Award by the Australian Writer’s Guild.

(IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479528/awards)
(Australian Writer’s Guild: http://www.awg.com.au/artman/publish/article_450.shtml)
(Australian Film Institute: http://www.afi.org.au/)

INTERVIEWS
Clint, Morris. “Interview: Michael Vartan and Greg McLean on Rogue!” IESB.net.
http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3477&Itemid=99

Hellard, Peter. “Michael Vartan shocked on croc flick Rogue.” Herald Sun.
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22744846-2902,00.html

Lamkin, Elain. Bloody Disgusting.
http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/features.php?id=186

Rotten, Ryan. “Exclusive Interview: Rogue's Greg McLean.” Shock Til You Drop.
<http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=1421>.

Stratton, David. “Rogue Interview.” At the Movies.
 http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2064657.htm

Urban, Andrew L. “Snapped Up By Experts.” Urban Cinefile.
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=13653&s=Interviews

“The Stars of Rogue.” Village Cinemas.
http://www.villagecinemas.com.au/VTV.asp?FlashID=3      

REVIEWS
Aldritch, Robert. The Great Unmade Robert Aldritch Romantic Comedy.
http://thegreatunmaderobertaldrichromcom.blogspot.com/2007/12/movie-review-rogue-2007-12-nb-warning.html

Buckmaster, Luke. InFilm Australia
http://www.infilm.com.au/?p=76

Cinematic Intelligence Agency.
http://thecia.com.au/reviews/r/rogue-2007.shtml

Free, Erin. Film Link.
http://www.filmink.com.au/reviews/index.php?movie_id=5440&smallscreen_id=

George, Sarah. The Australian.
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,22031331-16947,00.html

Hall, Sarah. Sydney Morning Herald.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/film-reviews/rogue/2007/11/09/1194329491100.html

Kupiers, Richard. Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117935384.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

Martin, Peter. Twitch.
http://www.twitchfilm.net/site/view/review-rogue/

Oliver, Barry. The Australian.
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22726266-5002031,00.html

Pejkovic, Matthew. ACED Magazine.
http://acedmagazine.com/content/view/1189/44/

Schemberi, Jim. The Age Blogs.
http://blogs.theage.com.au/schembri/archives/2007/11/rogue_its_jaws.html

Slater, Jay. Film Threat.
http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?section=interviews&Id=1136

Stratton, David. At The Movies.
http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2064632.htm

Symonds, Christopher. Frank’s Reel Reviews.
http://www.franksreelreviews.com/reviews/2007/rogue.htm

Thompson, Peter. Sunday Online. http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/film_reviews/article_2343.asp?s=1

Turney, Drew. Dark Horizons. http://www.darkhorizons.com/reviews/rogue.php

OTHER
Offical Site                                          http://www.roguecrocodile.com (Australia)
                                                            http://www.rogue-movie.com (USA)
Internet Movie Database                     http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479528/
Wikipedia                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_%28film%29
Rotten Tomatoes                                  http://au.rottentomatoes.com/m/1173563-rogue/
Monsters and Critics                           http://movies.monstersandcritics.com/archive/ moviearchive.php/Rogue/4974
Michael Vartos Fan Resources           http://www.vartanho.com/articles/rogue/index.html

PART two

PRODUCTION AND RELEASE HISTORY
Originally written in the mid-nineties, Rogue was either never pitched or met rejection until Mclean’s success with Wolf Creek in 2005. He has said that this worked out well, as his desire to maintain control over casting, editing and location meant that he could make the movie he wanted (1). The Weinstein Company in Los Angeles accepted, providing a budget substantially larger than that of the earlier film, and after seeing the final cut Village Roadshow bought 50% (2). It was filmed over four weeks in the Northern Territory and in studios in Melbourne. Vartan was cast due to his “classic American look” and was initially reluctant to take the role but, like everyone else who ever mentions the film, he was convinced on the basis of Wolf Creek. Radha Mitchell was cast due to her strong performances in other horror films (3). It was shown in Spain first before a nation-wide Australian release. Various delays have caused the American release to be postponed until April 25th.

(1) Morris, Clint. “Interview: Michael Vartan and Greg Mclean on Rogue!” IESB.net. 14 October, 2007.
<http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3477&Itemid=99>.
Viewed 19 April, 2008.
(2) Urban, Andew L. “Snapped Up By Experts.” Urban Cine File. 8 November, 2007. <http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=13653&s=Interviews >. Viewed 22 April, 2007.
(3)  Rotten, Ryan. “Exclusive Interview: Rogue’s Greg Mclean.” Shock Til You Drop. September 24, 2007.
<http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=1421>. Viewed 22April, 2008.

CRITICAL RESPONSE
Considering the success of Wolf Creek - $4,560,118 in Australia as of 23/02/06 (1) -the film didn’t do very well in Australia. Most reviews center on the relationship to Mclean’s earlier film, as well as Jaws. One review calls it “Jaws 2.0” and, after criticising is failures in regards to these movies, asks if these comparisons are fair (2). Stratton describes the film as being “not exactly original,” but succeeding “in what it set out to do,” with Pomeranz agreeing that it “is effective for what it is” (3). American reviewers like Kuipers highlight the location, shot in “lovely HD-to-35mm lensing of glorious locations [that] will have many viewers wanting to visit the region regardless of threatening wildlife,” while describing it as “only wanting to be a good B grader,” at which “it succeeds” (4).

(1) No author. “Wolf Creek- International Box Office Results.” Box Office Mojo. 4 November, 2007.
<http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=wolfcreek.htm>.
Viewed 21 April, 2004.
(2) Schembri, Jim. “Rogue - It's Jaws 5 With A Giant Croc.” The Age Blogs. 10 November, 2007.
<http://blogs.theage.com.au/schembri/archives/2007/11/rogue_its_jaws.html>.
Viewed 18 April, 2004.
(3) Stratton, David. “Rogue.” At The Movies.
<http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2064632.htm>.
Viewed 20 April, 2004.
(4) Kuipers, Richard. “Rogue.” Variety.  11 November, 2007.
<http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117935384.html?categoryid=31&cs=1>.
Viewed 20 April, 2004.

PLOT SYNOPSIS
Pete McKell (Michael Varton), an American travel writer, arrives in a Northern Territory town where his urban, yuppie attributes immediately set him at odds with the environment and the locals. After some trouble he manages to contact his agent with his mobile phone, only to be cut off after discovering a discrepancy between their versions of his itinerary. Annoyed, he takes a cruise along a river where he meets the laconic tour-guide Kate Ryan (Radha Mitchell), with whom him he develops a romantic interest enforced by their contrast. The cruise starts out pleasantly with Kate pointing out the natural wonders, both geological and biological, including a wealth of information about crocodiles. This also allows for some exposition of the protaganists and the other tourists who are all suitably awed by the magnificence and danger of their surroundings. After a while they are approached by Kate’s ex-boyfriend Neil (Sam Worthington) and his friend Colin (Damien Richardson) who harass the group, resulting in a confrontation with Pete. The boat then reaches the end of its penetration of the river (where the radio is out of range) and Kate decides to turn back, but then a few of the tourists see a flare which presumably comes from one of the other tour boats. Despite the protests of some of her clients, Kate insists that they investigate, asserting the moral supremacy of Outback mateship that the (mostly English and American) tourists don’t appreciate. They find the remains of another boat and the tourists, already distressed by the time delay affecting their flights, panic when they are hit from below, knocking a hole in the bottom of the boat. Kate remains relatively calm and decides to head for a small sand bar/island where the others argue with each other. The situation is exacerbated when Everett (Robert Taylor) is suddenly pulled into the river and they realize they are threatened by a crocodile protecting its territory with an incoming tide that will submerge the island. Neil and Colin show up again, offering hope but then the boat is attacked, Colin is taken by the unseen menace and Neil swims to the temporary safety of the island where his conflict with Pete is heightened. Their first attempt to reach safety involved tying a piece of rope between two trees which they’d traverse by crawling along the top. This would leave them dangling over the water, echoing an earlier scene where they saw meat held out for jumping crocodiles. This fails when Mary Ellen (Caroline Brazier), already distraught by her husband’s death, has a anxiety attack half way along the rope.  Allen (Geoff Morrell) then loses his cool and insists that he and his daughter Sherry (Mia Wasikowska) be allowed to cross. Unable to take the excess weight, the rope falls and all three fall into the water and Mary Ellen is eaten. Pete suggests that they distract the crocodile, allowing the others swim to safety. The initial implication is that they use Kate’s dog as bait but instead they settle on two dead birds. Pete heroically volunteers to hold the line and while he angles on one side of the island the surviving tourists swim across to the bank. With the others safe, Pete and Kate head out into the water but just as she nears the bank the crocodile strikes. Pete tries to save her but when she doesn’t reappear he is forced to save himself. With the others gone he stumbles through the bush with Kate’s dog. When it runs off barking he follows it to a tree hollow that, after falling through, he discovers is the opening of the crocodile’s lair, where Kate is sprawled under some roots. Pete avoids the mutilated corpses floating in the shallow water and finds her miraculously still alive before the enormous crocodile returns. It lumbers up out of the water and falls asleep at which point Pete attempts to carry Kate out to safety. Then, just when he thinks he is safe, he turns around to inevitably find the crocodile gone. A final battle ensues. Pete wins by stabbing the crocodile in the head and is thanked by Kate before she is whisked off in an SES helicopter to medical attention from the Flying Doctors. The films ends with a clipping of Pete in the café/pub from the opening scene, where the locals have gained an appreciation for the yank they previously regarded as an uptight yuppie interloper.

RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER FILMS
Rogue is notable for its adherence to the horror genre and its representation of Australia. Like Wolf Creek, the horror derives from the representation of a near-reality. In his interview with Stratton, Mclean describes his intention to make “an A version of a B film,” avoiding exploitation (1). He succeeds in doing this by representing the ordinary, albeit slightly exaggerated. As a ‘creature-feature’ the film relies heavily on the elements established by Jaws to evoke a fear of the natural world, challenging the supposed superiority of humanity by placing a large apex predator against it. It is significant that sharks and crocodiles are used in this context, due not only to their pre-historic heritage but their presence as Australian fauna; the ‘rogue’ crocodile is an exaggeration but there is a threat that lurks as a menace within the natural world. Mclean himself described this as “a primal fear” (1), which reflects a theme common to white Australian narratives where the environment holds a degree of horror. This corresponds to the characteristics of post ‘60s horror films that Tudor describes, where there is an emphasis on “a profound insecurity about ourselves … and the monsters of the period are increasingly represented as part of an everyday contemporary landscape” (2). Like Jaws, the monster in Rogue has a relationship with the natural world and the situation in which it invokes horror is not pastiche, unlike other movies based on a human consuming animal like Anaconda, something Mclean is glad of (3).  Furthermore, Mclean’s attempt to present real-seeming people is admirable in that it serves to create a belief in the situation. This, he says, “is paramount” in writing a good horror movie. Ones that fail:
“probably don’t have that quality of feeling like it’s really happening to someone. If you don’t believe the characters, don’t believe the situation it’s meaningless. That’s the challenge. It’s easy to come up with monsters and threats, but you have to make the first part of the story realistic. Otherwise nothing matters” (4).
In the context of films, as in other texts, Australian narratives use this everydayness for a horrific effect, where the “New Australian Gothic” plays on the representation of reality to reveal an underlying fear by presenting a “small, yet consistent flow of malevolence and disorder” (4). This tradition of depicting themes of “alienation from nature,” often represented, like Razorback, as “outback paranoia” (5), is something that fits well within the horror genre as it reflects a deeper threat within the landscape. This can be seen in the role an American plays in saving the day; an outsider from the beginning, he succeeds where all the locals fail, symbolising a deeper failure within the society itself to gain mastery of the environment.

(1) Stratton, David. “Rogue Interview.” At The Movies.  <http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2064657.htm>. Viewed 20 April, 2008.
(2) cited in Gillard, Garry. “Horror.”MCC231 Australian Film: Readings. 20 March, 2008.
 <http://garrygillard.net/231/horror.html >. Viewed 18 April, 2008.
(3) Rotten, Ryan. “Exclusive Interview: Rogue’s Greg Mclean.” Shock Til You Drop.24 September, 2007.
<http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=1421>. Viewed 22 April, 2008.
(4) Az. “The Stars of Vogue.” Village Cinemas: VTV.
<http://www.villagecinemas.com.au/VTV.asp?FlashID=3>. Viewed 20 April, 2008.
(5) Thomas, David and Gillard, Garry. “New Australian Gothic cinema.” Garry Gillard Homepage. 1 April, 2005. <http://garrygillard.net/231/gothic.htm>. Viewed 18 April, 2008.
(6) Hood, Robert. “Killer Koalas: Australian (and New Zealand) Horror Films, Part 1.” 1994. Cited in Carrol, David and Ward, Kyla. Tabula Rasa. 2008.
 <http://www.tabula-rasa.info/AusHorror/OzHorrorFilms1.html>. Viewed  18 April, 2008.

COMMENTARY
In his interview with “Az” from Village Cinemas, Mclean describes Rogue as “an old fashioned monster flick” (1) and he isn’t wrong.  It doesn’t offer itself as anything other than an exciting story. There is sufficient suspense, sometimes deliberately cringe-inducing, that keeps the audience entertained. Likewise, the crocodile serves as a suitably horrific threat, mostly from its proximity to real danger. As mentioned above, although they are rarely of such gigantic proportions, crocodiles do attack and eat people. This narrative is nicely evoked through the use of tourists, who are represented in other texts as forming the majority of the human element of a crocodilian diet. However, the characters are all stock types, opposing each other to ultimately add more tension. Using stereotypes is fine, but it seems that in casting an American for the lead role Mclean did more than just create an interest for a large over seas market. Pete’s position as the city slicker automatically sets him out of place with the environment and the other characters, which works well with Kate but makes his inevitable victory almost sickening when compared to the Australian males. The representation of crude masculinity  seen in Colin and Neil (i.e. mooning, imposing themselves on females, failure to manifest as heroes), for example, serves to highlight the viewer’s subjective association with Pete. This isn’t necessarly bad, but considering the other Australian males are either cowards or ineffectual (for example Stephen Curry as annoying photographer, John Jarrat as dorky older man) Rogue ends up leaving me witha pseudo-Independece Day feel.

(1) Az. “The Stars of Vogue.” Village Cinemas: VTV.
<http://www.villagecinemas.com.au/VTV.asp?FlashID=3>. Viewed 20 April, 2008.