Thrillers come a dime a dozen in cinema these days. Some are so nerve racking and sinister that they don’t lead much to the imagination and you are usually left with a thankful feeling during the closing credits. Yet so many few thrillers hold you until the exact moment of the finale and many won’t the way The Rover leaves you standing. Lost; unsure of what you just witnessed David Michod journey through the isolate outback of a post apocalyptic Australia is both mind numbing and unsettling. You wouldn’t think it’s the case for a film with a minute amount of dialogue and an epic range of outdoors which really seem to be the beauty behind The Rover.
While there are many parts that takes the new found slow burn love of films to the limits the performance of Pearce and Pattinson are equally as impressive for two very different individuals.
The overall premise of The Rover is plain and simple. Guys steal car, car has something of immeasurable value in it, and the owner will kill anything in his way to get it. Running into one of the brothers of the bandits was of pure luck (especially when you see the magnitude of the area these guys cover) but really establishes the identity of the film. Michod gives us memsermirezing looks at what normally would be a desolate time and used angles familiar to ones you would see in a Van Zant movie that broke up the monotony of the impending dredge. The landscape and cinematic interpretation of what this world would look like through the eyes of the outback seemed tons more realistic than anything we remember from the Mad Max days. That being said it makes it understandable while the action was few and far between.
Let’s not overthink it too much as the abilities by Pearce and Pattison is what trumps any notion constructed in The Rover and makes it brilliant. Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson are extraordinary. Being the polar opposite of each others made The Rover the best anti buddy flick since Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. All jokes aside Robert even exceeded Guy by tackling the ever so delicate role of playing someone with a mental retardation. Though slow and unassuming at times, the segments in which he took over are the most unforgettable moments in the film. He is the exact opposite of helpless
Pearce is brash and unrelentless in his pursuit. He is a man of a few words in this film but his quest to reclaim what is his is an unwielding pursuit that causes action in a world where the grime and filth of the earth seem to run rampant. Pearce is the eyes, ears, and pulse behind The Rover but Pattison is truly the conscious and soul.
The Rover is a film that may be very polarizing. Its subdued existence for a majority of the film will lead many astray. Those into the glorious drop that has been provided by Michod and all included will relish The Rover’s being in it’s place of cinema. That allows us to believe that a film with a new look and an old soul may not get the response that many feel it truly deserves. Be that as it may The Rover is an enigmatic and engaging piece of cinema that feels more art than narrative. Usually a persons journey through an apocalyptic era is filled with disgust and fortitude. While these elements are apparent in The Rover there is an underlying beauty of an unlikely friendship that holds it all together. As slow burning as it may be it is still powerful and enduring.
The Rover is directed by David Michod and stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. It is being released by A24 studios and is currently playing in theaters everywhere.