More along the lines of The Road than a Mad Max knock-off, The Rover is a dark, dystopian pit of despair. Debuting at Cannes with mostly a positive reaction, it opens wide this weekend.
THE ROVER, David Michod’s highly anticipated follow-up to ANIMAL KINGDOM, is set in a world 10 years following the collapse of society. The rule of the law has disintegrated and life is cheap. The film follows hardened loner Eric (Pearce) as he travels the desolate towns and roads of the outback. When a gang of thieves steals his car they leave behind a wounded Rey (Pattinson) in their wake. Forcing Rey to help track the gang, Eric will go to any lengths to take back the one thing that still matters to him. Michod also wrote the film based on a story he conceived with Joel Edgerton. (c) A24
Maybe not as great as Animal Kingdom, which these filmmakers worked on helping Jackie Weaver earn a surprising and deserved Oscar nomination, The Rover holds the viewers attention even if they aren’t sure where the movie is going. Like Animal Kingdom these are depraved gangsters. The plot meanders a little and I had issues keeping up with the second half of the movie. Violence consumes and blood splashes on the screen leaving very overwhelmed but potentially unsatisfied demanding more from The Rover.
The most impressive thing about The Rover was Robert Pattinson’s unrecognizable performance! With a combination of rustic grit and method acting, Pattinson transforms into Rey, a lost and broken man burdened by the harsh society. It demands serious consideration for awards while showcasing Pattinson’s ability to instill trust into filmmakers that isn’t just the pretty boy from Twilight. This man can act. His performance here is what he was trying to do in Cosmopolis, which didn’t quite work for me. When I described A24 as a “Millennial Miramax,” which takes edgy risks with younger actors, Robert Pattinson in The Rover is a textbook example of flawless execution of the theory.
I’d rate The Rover a 6.5 out of 10.