Movie Advisor: The Rover
Director: David Michôd
Main Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson
Running Time: 102 minutes
Release Date: Thursday June 12, 2014
Is it any good? ★★★★
Twenty years ago Guy Pearce went on a Road Trip through the Australian desert. The bus wore pink. He wore drag. It was a film full of music, laughter and the joy of life.
In The Rover, Pearce returns to the centre of Australia. On this occasion, our country is a third world wasteland; a mining resource for China following an economic collapse. It is a dystopian wild west, full of death, silence and betrayal.
And Pearce is magnificent in it.
In recent times, he has shone as the villain in films such as Lawless and Iron Man 3 and in smaller character roles in the likes of The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker and Animal Kingdom. Here Pearce is central to almost every scene; powerful and captivating as Eric, a broken man, who finds purpose in hunting down the strangers who stole his car.
His path is entwined with that of Rey, a wounded American who is touched in the head but who can lead him to his target. Robert Pattinson has tried previously with little success to prove he is a genuine talent, not merely a star named RPatz. His strong performance as Rey demonstrates the sort of niche character acting skills that can begin to change that perception.
Crucially, David Michôd’s follow up to Animal Kingdom elevates the pair’s efforts rather than leaning upon them. His straight-line narrative still manages to surprise and thrill, careful not to sink into the long, maudlin, indulgent silences that this genre too often delivers.
Nonetheless, this is not a pleasant trip. Those seeking simple escapism would be better served revisiting the Priscilla Pearce. Perhaps a fraction short of the masterpiece status of that drag-fuelled delight or Michôd’s own breakthrough, The Rover remains a tight, fascinating, and powerful journey that will linger with audiences for days.