Dan (Phoenix Raei) is a police officer working within a small community. Life presents many challenges and struggles for Dan, and he finds himself walking around in what feels like a real-life nightmare. Pushing him even further over the edge is the discovery of a dead body in the woods, who is soon revealed to be an old close friend of Dan’s.
Determined to uncover the truth about his friend’s death, Dan begins a personal investigation and soon makes a strange discovery. Not far from where the dead body was found, Dan encounters a mysterious man (Hugo Weaving) who enjoys spending his days getting drunk, playing ping pong, and living alone in an old home all by himself. Dan suspects that this hermit may have interacted with his friend before dying and starts questioning him, hoping to find the truth about his friend’s death. However, an unexpected friendship forms and Dan discovers that finding the truth about his dead friend isn’t the only hurdle he’s faced with. Within Dan’s soul also lies a dark past, and he has very little hope for a promising future. Can Dan find the truth about his close friend? Did this mysterious man have any involvement with it, and can Dan find closure and peace regarding his past?
The Rooster is an exciting film. Firstly, the film spans multiple genres, which appear to change with each act. The film opens with what feels like a nightmare, as Dan can’t seem to catch a break in life. The second act focuses more on the drama aspect as Dan grapples with conflicts and suspicions about the older man living in the woods. The third act, an unexpected thriller, leads towards its finale. For the most part, The Rooster is a potent combination of drama and thriller, and the entire film is highly unpredictable, with multiple twists and turns.
Performance-wise, there’s a lot to be impressed by. I was highly pleased with the performance of actor Phoenix Raei as Dan. Still, I can’t deny that the film elevates further in all areas once actor Hugo Weaving appears on-screen. He is easily the biggest highlight of the entire movie due to his loudness, on-screen energy and witty, foul one-liners. The chemistry between the leading characters is strong, and their interactions are dramatic. At times, it’s also heartwarming, even more so as an unlikely friendship slowly develops. I found the first and second parts of the film extremely engaging, compelling, and exciting, but elements within the third act seem to drag on. Thankfully, the final moments are undoubtedly rewarding.
Overall, The Rooster is a compelling film filled with stunning performances, particularly from Hugo Weaving, who delivers a flawless performance once again. The story here is highly unpredictable, and the film successfully takes audiences on a rewarding journey, even if the third act is slightly sluggish in reaching its conclusion. The various themes and genres, including thriller and drama, make a fun mix, keeping viewers invested and curious for the entire runtime.
The Rooster (2023) will be available in Australian Cinemas starting February 22nd.