Title: The Rover
MPAA Rating: R
Director: David Michod
Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins
What is It: A post-“civilization collapse” story, where lawlessness and destitution play out against the dry, bleak Australian landscape, The Rover generates obvious parallels to The Road and Mad Max films. Unlike those films however, it isn’t so much a story about survival, though that simmers throughout the film, but about closure. The film beings after the “collapse” and doesn’t offer much explanation. It thrusts us into the action and leaves the audience to piece things together. After an event that the audience isn’t privy to, Eric (Pierce) has his car stolen by some random survivors. Eric spends the rest of the film trying to get it back.
What We Think: The Rover is an entertaining but also frustrating film. It offers little exposition to help establish context, so much of the film I was trying to figure out what happened before the world “collapsed,” though there are hints. Only US currency has value, for one. Eric runs into a not-too-bright Ray (Pattinson) and together they chase after Eric’s stolen car, though Ray reluctantly at first. It is a kill or be killed kind of world, and the film focuses on these details to great effect. The dirty, grubbiness of the world is also well conveyed.
Our Grade: B. The film is a solid B. The action scenes against the Australian landscape are entertaining and well executed. Further, the use of music serves as excellent juxtapose as to what happens on screen-Ray singing a trendy pop song demonstrates that well. The relationship between Eric and Ray strains and slows the film down a bit. Though eventually we learn enough about each man to understand their motivations, and the information helps frame the film, it still was slow at times. But finally, the film seems content to consider what might remain of humanity or compassion in a savage dog-eat-dog world.