The Rover: Pearce, Pattinson, Trains and Automobiles
Director David Michod knows how to create memorable characters. His depraved worlds breed creatures who are insanely magnetic. Ben Mendelsohn stole the show in Michod’s Animal Kingdom. His character seethed with menace while being incredibly ordinary. The character had more than three dimensions and proved to be a bland monster that was more snake than man. In The Rover, Robert Pattinson creates a twitch filled character that is pretty fantastic and memorable.
The Rover is a simple story that takes place ten years after the collapse of civilization. We don’t get leather clad motorcycle gangs. Instead, we get drifters who exist in a semi-lawless world. The lack of murderous biker gangs is refreshing because it grounds the story and adds to the suspense. The Australian landscape is just as deadly as the inhabitants and is filmed in all its barren glory.
The story revolves around Guy Pearce on a mission to recover his stolen vehicle. Along the way he picks up one of the thieves brothers and the two become a sort of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid who might murder you. The violence is sudden, the mood grim and faces dirty. This is not a world that you want to live in. The Rover lacks a story but is chock full of surprises, suspense and great performances
Guy Pearce is solid as always and continues his chameleon like work in genre cinema. The Rover could make for a perfect yet bleak Guy Pearce film festival alongside the The Proposition, The Road, Memento and Ravenous. However, The Rover is Robert Pattinson’s film. He is capable yet dumb. He almost doesn’t know how to die. He is loyal to a fault and is a true wild card. Pattinson dissapears into the character and it all culminates with him singing Keri Hilson’s song “Pretty Girl Rock.”
The film may be nihilistic and bleak but I enjoyed the different feel of the collapsed world. It plays like A History of Violence meets Mad Max meets buddy road film.The end fills you up with proper suspense and there are moments of surprise. The film does not feel familiar and takes you to some interesting places. The lack of narrative and occasional gaps are forgiven because of the memorable moments and committed performances.
The Rover is grimy, bleak and unique. It is worth watching because of the beautiful Australian outback and Robert Pattinson’s performance.