#REVIEW: “THE ROVER”
After wowing the world of Cinema with 2010’s Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom, Australian Director/Writer David Michôd returns with confident Dystopian Drama, The Rover. Once again exploring themes of Brotherhood and betrayal within the Family, he brings out the big guns in a high-profile pair of Actors at the forefront, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Michôd and Actor Joel Edgerton – who co-wrote the story – tell a grim post-Apocalyptic Tale of survival following an economic collapse, which sees people migrating to Australia where oddly only American currency is accepted and any bit of dependence can lead to one’s demise.
After having his car stolen, Eric (Pearce) spends much of the Movie trying to reclaim it from Archie (David Field), Caleb (Tawanda Manyimo) and Henry (Scoot McNairy) whom had taken it out of desperation while fleeing the scene of a crime. Rey (Pattinson) is the disabled younger brother of Henry and originally a member of the criminal Quartet, mocked and left behind for dead. Eric crosses paths with Rey, holding him hostage, persistent in prying information, which might help him locate the Thieves. We learn Rey and Henry in their southern drawls had migrated over from America to seek jobs in mining, one of the few thriving industries left following the Collapse. Along the way, it is unveiled that Eric too has a dark history he had buried in the past. In some ways, Eric and Rey build a brother-like bond in Henry‘s absence and ultimately we are taken along a journey in the barren Australian Outback, understated and breathtakingly cinematic thanks to some fine work from Natasha Braier. Will Eric succeed in getting back his car? What will result in Rey and Henry coming face-to-face after an irreparable betrayal? Most of all, amidst times of uncertainty and a New World Order, what will it take to survive?
Early buzz coming out of Cannes has pegged Pattinson‘s performance as being “career-defining” and in a celebrated career commercially – thanks to the Box Office Record-shattering success commercially from the Twilight Franchise – surprisingly the reception is imbalanced critically still. This will be known as the Film that silences his Naysayers. Of all the Characters in this Tale, his naïveté and vulnerability give this stark backdrop a dimension of humanism. That being said, he disappears completely into Rey and it is impossible not to feel sympathy. Pearce is rarely not on-point and he unflinchingly is fierce here, hardened by tough times. We spend much of the Film pondering the mystery behind him. For what the Film isn’t in terms of action and excitement, The Rover more than makes up for in its engaging slow-burn of a ride.
eOne Films release The Rover in Toronto on Friday, June 20, 2014. Additional cities to follow.