The Rover David Michôd
Published Jun 27, 2014It's become sort of an annual tradition in the movie industry for Quentin Tarantino to come out of hiding once a year and openly heap praise on a new film or director. If you're a fan of his brand of over-stylized violence, then his 2014 selection, The Rover (directed by Animal Kingdom's David Michôd), will not disappoint.
Set in the Australian outback ten years after an economic collapse, the world is in disarray: money (save for the almighty American dollar) holds little power; the world's population has been decimated; and cars lie disused all over the road. That's why it comes as somewhat of a surprise when Eric (played by Guy Pearce) has his car stolen by a gang of roving criminals and decides to do whatever it takes to get it back.
When Eric comes across the good ol' Southern boy Rey (Robert Pattinson) along the way, he soon pieces together a connection between the dim-witted (and wounded) American and his recent carjackers. With no way of knowing where they went, the pair is forced to work together to retrieve the car and its captors.
While it may sound like a pretty pointless plot, Michôd's second picture amps up the tension thanks to standout performances from Pearce and Pattinson, who fully inhabit the characters created by Michôd and writer Joel Edgerton.
Eric, a man untethered to the crumbling society around him and with an ambiguous moral compass directing his every move, is portrayed perfectly by Pearce, who plays the role more like a steely-eyed samurai than the down-on-his-luck everyman he's supposed to be.
However, it's Robert Pattinson who steals much of the spotlight in this dystopian crime drama. A couple years removed from his teeny-bopper past and with films like the critically panned Cosmopolis allowing him to flex his post-Edward muscle, Pattinson plays the dumb dirtbag Rey to a tee, complete with loose-fitting pants, limp, shallow stare and penchant for over-played pop songs (one scene finds him mumbling along to Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock" to great success).
While not as attention-grabbing as other summertime flicks, Pearce as a vigilante who values honour over money in a post-apocalyptic death zone is an entertaining enough story and one that is executed exquisitely thanks to its cast and creators.