The Rover Review
Post-apocalyptic futures are never pretty. Tonight, a watched a film called “The Rover” which starred Guy Pierce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy. I think “The Rover” is many things and pretty is not among them, nor should it be. Imagining a world where the government breaks down and there is nobody to protect us from ourselves is a very scary thought. It seems writer and director David Michod thought the exact same thing. “The Rover” is a hellish landscape, a world torn apart by economic collapse. The mood, atmosphere and backdrop of the film is a gritty one and it suits the film well. There is an incredible musical score by Antony Partos that became more and more addicting as the film went on. “The Rover” is a movie that certainly gets its theme’s right.
But “The Rover” is not just a dystopia of terror. “The Rover” also works as a modern-day Western. Although I will say that there are really not any heroes in the movie, the men we follow in this cruel world are all dangerous. These are men that fight for the smallest of supplies, because it is all they have left. Eric (Guy Pierce) is a loner, the exact type of personality we love in Western and Samurai movies. As the film begins, Eric has a very bad day once his car is stolen by a three men after a robbery gone wrong. Eric tales the robbers, but they make their escape. Eric begins to scourge the countryside for his car and he stumbles upon Rey (Robert Pattinson), one of the robber’s brothers who was left at the scene of the crime. Eric forces Rey to track down his brother and the other robbers to get his car back.
I can hear most of you ready to close this page and stop reading this review after reading the name Robert Pattinson. Let me just start by saying that you won’t believe this is Robert Pattinson. “The Rover” presence a very interesting moment in Pattinson’s career, because if he continues to receive roles like this, he will turn his career and reputation around quickly. Rey has several ticks and mannerisms to his character, sometimes it is kind of hard to decipher what he is saying in some scenes. Yet, every time Pattinson stumbles on the screen, it is hard to take your eyes off of him. This one role brings Pattinson a long way from the pretty control-freak from “Twilight” or the clichéd loner from “Remember Me.” This one role is a tremendous step forward and honestly, all I can say is good for him. I would much rather enjoy performances over not enjoying them. If Pattinson becomes the next Channing Tatum, then I will be a happy boy indeed.
Both Pierce and McNairy are both excellent, as to be expected. Pierce plays the word-less, Samurai-like figure of the movie. He has a very particular mission he wants to complete and when it’s accomplished, he is done. He doesn’t have a lot of dialogue in the movie and he doesn’t possess a whole lot of emotion, but somehow Pierce makes it all worthwhile. Pierce can say a whole lot just by his stern face and cold demeanor. McNairy plays the older brother of Rey and he feels terrible about leaving his brother for dead. McNairy does not have lots of scenes in the movie, but when he’s onscreen, he makes it count.
I will say that “The Rover” is a slow-burn movie and it features a rather somber ending. If you prefer happy endings, you may want to skip “The Rover” completely. There is also not a ton of dialogue in the movie, and I know that would turn a lot of viewers off as well. Plus, the plot is just kind of lacking for a post-apocalyptic movie. Had the film had a stronger plot, I feel I would have been more engaged. But it is pretty thin and it doesn’t give a lot for the actors to do. What is presented for the actors feels like a thousand other movies I have already seen.
Despite the plot issues, there is a lot of cool scenery and there are many good performances to see in “The Rover.” For these reasons alone, this movie is well worth checking out.
FINAL GRADE: B