The Rover


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Only the gun speaks"

Post-apocalyptic thrillers are guaranteed to accentuate the negative. Either a fascist police state keeps what's left of civilisation on a tight leash, or anarchy rules with marauding gangs of cannibalistic thugs creating no go areas in which murder is the currency of survival.

The Rover emerges from the latter category with blood on its hands. Writer/director David Michôd, praised for his ultra violent debut, Animal Kingdom, shortens the storyline while retaining a sense of menace that cuts the wires to normality.

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There is no explanatory narrative. You pick at traces of Life After without knowing after what. This is about Eric (Guy Pearce), a man of few words, who chases the criminals who stole his car, although there are no criminals because everyone is, or no one. Rules, laws, language have been compromised. Only the gun speaks.

Eric picks up Rey (Robert Pattinson), the wounded brother of one of the thieves, who's mental capacity is limited by injury, or fear. Conversationally The Rover is as stimulating as limp lettuce. Also Eric must be the most boring fugitive in the history of road movies. Except he's not a fugitive. He has a rifle and he kills people. What else can you do in this sand baked suburban desert?

He chases his car in another car, with Rey riding shotgun. They never stop for gas. They never run out of bullets. They never change their underwear.

Pearce gives a minimalist performance, while Pattinson is acting his socks off. Twilight fans will burst into tears seeing Edward degraded like this. Others who appreciate quality will be astonished. The nothing-but-a-pretty-face brigade can leave by the nearest exit.

As for the film, it makes The Road look like a camping trip.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2014
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In the near future, a man tracks the gang who stole his car across the outback, forcing the injured man they left behind to help him.
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Owen Van Spall ***

Director: David Michôd

Writer: David Michôd

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Tawanda Manyimo

Year: 2014

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia, US

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