The Rover

"Good"

The Rover Review


While this atmospheric Australian Outback thriller has plenty of edgy action, it's also meandering and arty, refusing to fill in the details until filmmaker David Michod is good and ready. This makes it feel rather slow and uneven, although it's at least consistently fascinating. And as a story of tenacity and survival, it's also a gripping drama.

The story is set 10 years after "the collapse", so there's little sense of law and order in the Outback. When his car is stolen by three outlaws (Scoot McNairy, Tawanda Manyimo and David Field), the strong-silent Eric (Guy Pearce) goes in pursuit. Along the way, he picks up the injured Rey (Robert Pattinson), brother of one of the thugs, who knows where they're headed. As they hit the road, Eric and Rey have a series of encounters with people who are alternatively helpful and menacing, from an inquisitive brothel madam (Gillian Jones) to a nervous doctor (Susan Prior) to an in-over-his-head soldier (Anthony Hayes). There are also plenty of marauding thieves and trigger-happy commandoes who don't hesitate before blowing away anyone who looks odd. But as Eric and Rey begin to bond, they still find it impossible to trust each other.

While the overarching plot is fairly simple, the film plays out in a series of set-pieces as Eric responds a variety of tense situations. The big question hovering above everything is of course why he's so determined to get his car back (the odd answer comes at the very end). Michod's style of filmmaking is more interested in provoking thought than fully satisfying the audience, so scenes are packed with inconclusive twists and turns, vaguely undefined characters and situations, and elements that clearly have some sort of meaning but feel rather impenetrable. Pearce's performance fits this style perfectly; Eric is a man who says very little, letting a steely glare convey more than any number of words would. In jarring contrast, Pattinson's Rey is a hyperactive mess, a simple-minded guy who never stops moving and talking.

Instead of adding an odd-couple vibe, this disparity between the two central figures throws the film off-balance. But it's such an intriguingly conceived project that it still holds the interest. The premise feels a lot like a prequel to the original Mad Max movie: society has collapsed but full-on warfare is still to come. Indeed, in this place and time, strangers are slightly more likely to get a bullet in the head than a warm welcome. So the few moments of humanity that Eric and Rey encounter are genuinely emotional. As is the tiny spark of humanity Eric discovers within himself.



The Rover

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th June 2014

Box Office USA: $1.1M

Budget: $12.3M

Distributed by: A24 Films

Production compaines: Blue-Tongue Films, Porchlight Films, Lava Bear Films, Screen Australia

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 103 Rotten: 55

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David Michod

Producer: David Michod, , Liz Watts

Starring: as Reynolds, as Eric, as Henry, as Town Soldier, as Sgt. Rickofferson, Susan Prior as Dot, Gillian Jones as Grandma, Tawanda Manyimo as Caleb

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.