THE ROVER

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

MOVIE REVIEW: THE ROVER / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DAVID MICHÔD / SCREENPLAY: DAVID MICHÔD / STARRING: GUY PEARCE, ROBERT PATTINSON, SCOTT MCNAIRY, GILLIAN JONES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

David Michôd follows up his acclaimed, visceral 2010 debut Animal Kingdom with this stylish, bleak tale of obsession, hopelessness and brutal violence in a desolate and dusty Australia a decade after an unspecified disaster known as ‘the collapse’.

Guy Pearce is Eric, a virtually monosyllabic loner galvanised into action when a trio of on-the-run lawbreakers – we’re never told what crime they’ve actually committed – steal his car after crashing their own vehicle. Eric salvages their truck and sets off in hot pursuit and he vows to recover his car even before a stand-off ends with him beaten unconscious. Back at the crime scene, Rey (Pattinson), brother of the leader of the gang, is injured and bleeding. Eric and Rey fall in together and, with Rey patched up by a handy doctor, the pair join forces to track down Rey’s brother and his gang – and they both have very different axes to grind.

The Rover is almost shamelessly a film of style over content. Michôd's near-future is a world of dusty desperation, a society clinging on to civilisation and yet slowly running down. We never find out if ‘the collapse‘ is a worldwide catastrophe or merely an Antipodean apocalypse but it scarcely matters as it’s really just window-dressing, a barely-referenced but handy background detail. The story is driven by Eric’s relentless, sullen determination to get back what’s rightfully his; he’s very much a man who’s been pushed to the edge and is now plunging over it. The appropriation of his car is the last straw and he’ll let nothing and no one stand in his way as he and Rey cross the inhospitable Australian landscape in pursuit of his property.

Michôd’s script is lean and sparse and what’s left unspoken is often of more significance than what is said. Pearce genuinely chills as the impenetrable Eric and Robert Pattinson is a revelation as the twitchy, drawling, troubled Rey. Evocative cinematography and Antony Partos’ compellingly throbbing soundtrack help establish the tone and scale of The Rover but it’s the film’s aching sense of weariness and quiet dread which papers over the cracks when the already unhurried story slows to a crawl.

A fascinating and engrossing character study punctuated by sudden, blunt violence and yet with a tendency to drag its heels, The Rover comes off the rails in its very last scene, a real ‘Surely not?’ moment as the reason Eric’s obsessed with recovering his car is revealed. It has laugh-out-loud potential and it will almost certainly dog your lasting memories of The Rover – a title given an entirely unintended double-meaning by its plain silly resolution.

Expected Rating: 6 out of 10

Actual Rating:

 


Suggested Articles:
With another summer season of superheroes and rampaging robots just around the corner, here’s a ve
No other animated Disney movie has captured audiences’ imaginations quite like Beauty and the Beas
Ben Wheatley follows up his J. G. Ballard adaptation of High Rise with an original project, Free Fir
It’s a not-so-distant future and a remote nuclear facility has gone offline. This new kind of nucl
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

LIFE 25 March 2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 22 March 2017

FREE FIRE 20 March 2017

ATOMICA 14 March 2017

THE EYES OF MY MOTHER 13 March 2017

A SILENT VOICE 13 March 2017

KONG: SKULL ISLAND 04 March 2017

SEARCH/DESTROY – A STRONTIUM DOG FAN FILM 03 March 2017

GET OUT 02 March 2017

BLOOD OF THE TRIBADES 02 March 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner