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THE ROVER (review)

rover_ver2THE ROVER
Written and Directed by David Michod
Starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson
 

Eric: How the hell are you going to get where you’re going if you don’t know where the fuck you are.

At the onset of THE ROVER, David Michod’s follow up to his breakthrough film, ANIMAL KINGDOM, we are told that what are we are about to watch transpire takes place in Australia, ten years after the collapse. That is the most information we are ever given though and so we are left to piece together what has happened and why everything is so desolate now. And so, Michod leaves us in the capable hands of Guy Pearce to carry us through this dystopian road film. As captivating as this is at times, it is far too vast and far too vague to matter in the end.

The particular collapse in question is meant to be a global economic one. It would appear that in the wake of this, there aren’t too many people left to live in this new age, as the Australian outback featured here, while picturesque, is devoid of most traces of humanity. Those that are left are near feral for the most apart. It is every man for himself and one of those men includes Eric (Pearce). All we know about Eric is that he hasn’t showered in some time and that he really likes his car. This explains why he persistently tracks down the three men who stole it from him one day, the car seemingly being his only remaining possession. Along the way, he finds and picks up Rey (Robert Pattinson), a brother to one of the men who stole his car who is meant to lead him to where they are hiding out. While this pairing is initially meant to be solely transactional, an odd bond forms as they spend more time together, with Eric taking on a protective role given that Rey is mentally slow and not meant for this new world. Pattinson impresses for the most part in his first post-TWILIGHT saga role, showing that he can nurture character when he makes an effort. The efforts he makes are somewhat obvious here but they definitely hint at a potential that was not evident prior to this.

The Rover

Michod, along with the assistance of of cinematographer, Natasha Braier, and art director, Tuesday Stone, create a frightening and intensely gripping future landscape, but THE ROVER overcompensates for not having much actual activity by pretending to be more bewildering than it actually is. Having sat through the enigmatic, ENEMY, and the hypnotic UNDER THE SKIN, already this year, I am no stranger to being mesmerized by pictures I’m not fully meant to comprehend, I found that, despite being reasonably engaging at times, THE ROVER was ultimately too disconnected and cool to truly connect with.

3.5 sheep

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