Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy
Directed by: David Michod
Synopsis: 10 years after a global economic collapse, a hardened loner pursues the men who stole his only possession, his car. Along the way, he captures one of the thieves’ brother, and the duo form an uneasy bond during the dangerous journey.
The Rover is the follow up film to David Michod’s acclaimed Aussie crime drama Animal Kingdom, but it is a wildly different beast. It has a passing resemblance to something like Only God Forgives, in that it is good to look at and there is a dearth of dialogue. But where Only God Forgives was just flat out boring, The Rover I found to be far more thrilling.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily going to keep you gripped from start to finish. It’s not that sort of film. It is slow, there isn’t a great deal of plot to talk about. The camera focuses on the barren surroundings a lot. But it does have a nice, simmering atmosphere and some fantastic performances from it’s leads. There is something about the Australian outback and it’s barren and unforgiving climate that makes it ideal for an apocalyptic style movie and this film makes the most of it’s surroundings.
Guy Pearce plays the lead, a man with no name, who’s only possession in the bleak world is his car. Following from some unspecified economic collapse the world has gone to pot. Not quite apocalyptic, but close. One day Guy stops into some sort of makeshift café or rest area. Whilst having a drink three criminals steal his car. He’s not happy. We don’t know why the car means so much to him until the end, but he will stop at nothing to get it back.
Upon his journey he comes across the mortally wounded brother of one of the criminals, played by Robert Pattinson. They both need each other, so they travel across the Australian bush to recover the car.
The film works well most of the time, especially as both Pearce and Pattinson put in great performances. Pearce is almost silent, but full of anger. Pattinson plays his character like something out of Deliverance and pulls it off really well. There are some beautiful shots of the Australian outback, mixed with scenes of explosive violence which keep the film from getting to un-engaging. Another similar film in that regard, albeit with a different setting, would be another Gosling movie, Drive. I don’t think The Rover will gain a cult-status like that movie did, but it definitely deserves to be seen.
Written in part by actor Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Animal Kingdom) and David Michod himself, The Rover is a great follow up to the equally excellent Animal Kingdom, and makes me excited to see what Michod will direct in the future.