Most dystopian-future movies show the destruction and cause of the eventual collapse that lead to the end of civilization as we know it. The Rover takes a different approach. While the smaller story within a larger apocalypse might alienate some viewers, I found the film’s focus on Eric (Guy Pearce) and Rey’s (Robert Pattinson) journey across a desolate Australia on a single mission thoroughly mesmerizing.
Opening with a car accident that leads to Eric’s car being stolen, he’s then hell bent on a mission to get his car back. He’s willing to go to great lengths to get back his car and whatever was in it. After the thieves get away, he’s got one thing on his mind and he doesn’t care who he has to bribe, torture or kill to get it back. He ends up running in to one of the thieves’ brother, Rey, and uses his knowledge of their plan to catch up with them.
The journey is pretty straight forward and they traverse much of a desolate and abandoned Australia. David Michôd takes full advantage of his filming locations, highlighting just how stark the landscape is and how alone everyone is in this post-apocalyptic world. While Michôd’s sure-hand is apparent in the wideshots, it’s the talent of the leading men that elevate this film.
Guy Pearce has never been so magnetic while saying so little. While Eric is a man of few words, his stillness is captivating. He’s menacing and mesmerizing at every turn. That’s not to say that he completely steals the show though. Robert Pattinson, most famous for playing a sparkling vampire, surprises as the dimwitted Rey. While he sometimes acts as the comedic relief to offer the audience a break from the sheer intensity of Pearce’s performance, he brings a vulnerability to the role that makes you believe him and hope it somehow works out for him in the end.
The Rover is now playing in theaters.