Director: David Michôd
Screenplay: Joel Edgerton, David Michôd
Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Patterson
Synopsis is here
The Rover is a brutally grim apocalyptic thriller set 10 years after a "collapse" which ravaged Australia, possibly the world. As we enter this world, we see Australia as a sparse and deadened wasteland ravaged by the titular "event". The collapse could possibly refer to an event that has occurred within Eric (Pearce); the protagonist of the
The Rover is a lean cut of a film. There's little in terms of plot to really grasp on to, and that works in its favor. Pearce's Eric is drowning his demons in a bar before three thieves make off with his car. By chance, he captures the lead thief's brother (Robert Patterson) and the two of them work towards finding the trio and the missing vehicle.
David Michôd's second feature is much more of a mood piece than a solid set adventure. The film is far more interested in the brittleness of those who have lost everything, than a clear destination. An underlying tension pulses through many of the scenes. We
Robert Patterson brings a jumble of man-child tics together to unleash a transformative display. Once again stepping away from the glittery vampire movies that placed him on the map, his role of Reynolds has a slight "Sling Blade (1996)" vibe to proceedings and yet, Patterson still manages to hold his own in an expressive performance that still manages to capture the despondent nature of the film.
Visually stark and with a hard edged tone that is difficult to shake off, The Rover doesn't bring everything together with the same completeness as other desolate features such as The Proposition (2008), nor does it have the same kinetic energy that the likes of Mad Max brought to post-apocalyptic worlds. But if Mad Max was about the insanity of staying mobile when everything is depleted, The Rover taps into the insular feelings of emotions themselves breaking down that Max only really held as a side note. There's the same cold feelings of dread felt here that could be found in the likes of Wake in Fright (1971) and The Road (2009), although The Rover slips at fully taking us into the world as those two examples did. That doesn't mean The Rover can't stand on its own two feet. It just means it holds good company.