The Rover (2014)
The Rover (2014) was first brought to my attention as a post-apocalyptic western, the western part really stick in my mind, which is not surprising really, making the viewing of this film all the richer. A cross between the Mad Max trilogy and the west. Set after a global economic collapse which again like most past events in these films are never really explained, the mere mentioned is a mystery to us, only the characters have any idea what went on, in this case 10 years previous.
In a sense The Rover is a very simple story with plenty of action thrown in the middle to make it worth your while, which is hardly fair. When Eric’s (Guy Pearce) car is stolen whilst he is having a quiet drink. His only means of transportation in the Australian desert taken from him, by a group of men who crashed their own car due to a fight. Like taking another man’s horse, an extension of himself. A means of movement and freedom is stolen. The gang of men, made up of American’s, South Africans and Australians didn’t count on the persistence of this lone man who is able to make his way on the road. Meaning business as he scares the hells out of these wandering men. Everyone is out for themselves in the harsh reality where all men carry a gun for protection.
They didn’t count on one of the men; Henry’s (Scoot McNairy) brother Rey (Robert Pattinson) who they left for dead to being found by Eric. It’s not the start of a beautiful friendship, more a bargaining chip in ensuring he gets his car back. He doesn’t care about the mentally disabled Rey who grows to need the cold killer who takes what he wants when he needs it. Driving along the open dusty road that seems to go on forever. Nowhere is safe, always having on the edge of your seat, not knowing who to trust.
It’s nice to see Pattinson growing out his teenage fan base of the Twilight series to become a half-decent actor who knows a good part when he reads one. Able to assume the part of a disabled person, taking on mannerism without being comical, coming almost naturally. Whilst Pearce is chewing the scenery, the angry older man who has seen it all, not caring what life throws at him.
The world that director David Michôd creates is dark and dangerous is not without fault. The presence of the army is left lingering. Are they the last resort in this chaotic world? The governments only way of controlling the country, are they the government? In George Miller‘s world the police are non-existent by the end of the first film. The breakdown of society is being held in place by the army here, whilst it’s not that strong as we find out. All that aside it’s a decent thriller once again from Michod who gave us the far darker Animal Kingdom (2010) which was far grittier as a criminal family slowly turned in on itself. All that said I think Australia does the post-apocalyptic genera far better, with the landscapes to play with it, you can really believe the barrenness of a future world where little or no-one is left alive. The Rover is a continuation of that genre, as we pursue a car not really knowing the reasons that drive that, it goes on forever…it feels to reveal a very human need at the end which you don’t see a coming.