The Rover starring Robert Pattinson
Wake me up when it's over
An ambitious movie that asks some uncomfortable questions, but it doesn’t really answer them.
WHAT would happen if there was a complete collapse of the economic system? Would society crumble? Director David Michod takes on the daunting task of exploring these questions in The Rover, set in Australia’s Outback.
It’s been 10 years since the collapse of the western economic system, and it’s every man for himself. Eric (Guy Pearce) is someone who obviously has issues. Cold and brooding with a palpable anger that’s barely restrained, Eric watches as his car is stolen by three men.
He gives chase but loses them when he is knocked out by Henry (Scoot McNairy). He picks up the injured and simple-minded Rey (Robert Pattinson), Henry’s younger brother, left for dead after the gang’s most recent robbery.
Eric forms an unlikely partnershp with Rey, using him to track the gang (and therefore his car) across the Outback.
Pearce plays the embittered Eric flawlessly, from his taciturn manner and ruthlessness to a softer side that he refuses to show, although we get glimpses.
Eric clearly has a long and miserable history, which is revealed in snippets. While he is presented as the hero, it’s really difficult to relate to Eric as a person, and as the movie progresses, you start to wonder if he is indeed its hero ... or villain.
Pattinson is the real surprise here. Rey is so far removed from Edward Cullen that even the most die-hardTwilight fan would be hard pressed to find traces of that character in here. Rey is bumbling, simple-minded and loves to talk. And talk.
There is a scene where Eric turns to Rey after the latter rambles on about his neighbour and asks with some amazement: “Why are you telling me this?” – a question that the audience also wants to know. That’s not to say Rey is all sweetness and light.
Written and directed by David Michod (of 2010’s Animal Kingdom), The Rover is bleak, and neither promises nor alludes to any happy moments. It’s brutally depressing, and shows the audience that society is just a veneer masking our baser instincts. Murder, violence and sex seem to be all that is left, although there are glimmers of hope in some of the characters.
The theft of Eric’s car is his impetus for the cross-country chase, and there is obviously something about the car that makes it precious to him.
It’s not until the final minutes that you realise what it is, and the pacing makes you forget that the reason he is after the car thieves is the car itself.
Although the movie talks about what happens after “the collapse”, there is no backstory to that.
It would have been a lot more effective if the filmmakers provided a brief explanation of how it happened, and why most places – this is Australia, remember – only take American dollars.
The movie also doesn’t flow. It’s monotonous, despite Anthony Partos’ chords being effectively jarring, and you’re left wondering when the movie is going to end – or if it ever will.
This dystopian flick asks uncomfortable questions, and doesn’t really answer them.
It is a really difficult movie to enjoy because there’s actually nothing to enjoy.
It’s depressing and bleak and brutal and makes you want to run out screaming, or surrender to the same impulses that overtake Eric in the course of the film.