The Rover – Film Review

Guy Pearce is magnetic in a compelling dystopian road movie

“You should never stop thinking about a life you’ve taken. It’s the price you pay for taking it…” Ominous words from Guy Pearce (Memento) who is The Rover in this existential take on Mel Gibson thriller Mad Max from the maker of awesome Aussie crime saga Animal Kingdom (David Michod). It’s a dystopian road movie with a very dark side, we meet Pearce’s semi-mute drifter Eric “ten years after the collapse” of society alone in the unforgiving outback linking lost towns peopled by bloodthirsty gangs and ruthless pimps.
Rednecks steal his car setting in motion the stalk and chase mechanics of a brutal outback western. Following a financial meltdown fuel is the only currency worth having while life is cheap on the dusty desolate roads where Eric meets Rey (Twilight‘s Robert Pattinson) reeling from a gunshot wound.
When he learns of his links to the gang who stole his wheels the two form an uneasy alliance built on survival as bouts of extreme violence trigger soul searching in a compelling tale driven by the magnetic Pearce whose beaten visage hints at a broken past. Eric and Rey make for an odd couple with the older man’s paternal instincts creeping to the surface after years of emotional shutdown. Forging a believable dynamic the two actors are swallowed by a brooding landscape and as we follow their perilous path it makes you wonder how far you’d go in a quest for survival.
Pattinson’s been reinventing himself post-Twilight and puts in a transformative shift here so don’t be put off by his casting. This definitely isn’t one for the twi-hards.

Dan Brightmore