The Rover is set in Australia, ten years after the world’s economic collapse, and has an environment that looks like a post-apocalyptic world in the near future. If you want to get ahead, you don’t need a hat, you need a gun.
The film has a very basic premise in that, while Eric (Guy Pearce) is passing the strains of his seemingly dull existence in a bar, three passers-by crash the truck in which they’re driving and steal his car instead. Given that it’s his only possession, he wants it back, at any price. He’s certainly got nothing else to lose. Along his journey as he tracks them down, he comes across their brother, Rey (Robert Pattinson), whose character comes across as if not all his dogs are barking, but he’s got reason to be annoyed because due to an off-screen altercation, they’ve left him for dead.
How much you enjoy The Rover depends on what you think of the idea of Guy Pearce, as the loner, wandering about a barren landscape with minimal dialogue and a penchant for winning every staring contest ever started. For my money, I found he gave a mesmerising performance, and there’s also engaging direction from David Michôd, in which he’s shot the film with the Super 35 format, but there’s occasionally some shots that look a little like anamorphic Panavision, so there’s no short-changing to its look. And as Eric and Rey travel the usually unseen badlands of Australia, there’s a few minutes around the 55-minute mark which feels like a modern-day Koyaaniqatsi, such is the blend of visuals and the score. In fact, the film makes you want to travel the same roads with them and experience it alongside them. Not only that, but I could happily watch three hours of a grizzly Guy Pearce wandering around the outback in search of his car, but then such a film wouldn’t really get an audience.
Of the rest of the cast, while it’s mostly Guy Pearce’s show, Robert Pattinson provides good support, and the others are welcome, but no-one can hold a candle to the lead, who’s on top form, as always.
The Rover has great violence when required, and basically sets out its store as – if someone fucks you over, then you fuck ’em right back, and I take away one of Pearce’s strongest lines in the film, in this harsh environment, when he said, “You should never forget a life you’ve taken. That’s your price for taking it.”
I could also be picky and say that, in such a desolate environment, the chances of finding cars that don’t have any trouble starting, nor continuing to work with zero maintenance, is slim, but then that would be me being picky 😉
Note that this review is for the film only, but you can find out more about each format on the links above.
Running time: 103 minutes
Studio: Entertainment One
Format: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Released: January 5th 2015
Director: David Michôd
Producers: David Linde, David Michôd and Liz Watts
Screenplay: David Michôd (based on a story by Joel Edgerton and David Michôd)
Music: Antony Partos
Eric: Guy Pearce
Rey: Robert Pattinson
Caleb: Tawanda Manyimo
Henry: Scoot McNairy
Archie: David Field
Hanging Gardens Boy: Ethan Hanslow
Grandma: Gillian Jones
Storekeeper: Richard Green
Benny: Ben Armer
Colin: Jamie Fallon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.