Review: 'The Rover' quests for post-apocalyptic morality
“The Rover” is a nasty little movie with a mean streak. That's not entirely a bad thing.
David Michod's film, about a man trying to retrieve his stolen car in a post-not-quite-apocalyptic Australian Outback, is an intriguing character study. You might call it a morality play, if there were any morality to speak of at play.
The film centers on Guy Pearce as Eric, the man in search of his car, and Robert Pattinson as Rey, the simpleton brother of one of the car thieves who accompanies Eric on his quest.
Their portrayals are interesting at the least, often something more, and you have to credit Michod for going full-bore with the dystopian savagery. This is not a world you want to live in.
The movie begins “10 years after the Collapse” (no further explanation is offered), with Eric, stoic, walking into some sort of seedy barlike dump. As he drinks, we see in the window behind him a pickup filled with three criminals flip and crash behind him.
The three men, led by Henry (Scoot McNairy), jump in the first car they find and take off. This turns out to be Eric's car, and for reasons that will not be clear for a while, he goes after them — in their car, which turns out to be drivable. They get away for a time, but Eric is relentless and, as a few shocking actions illustrate, willing to go to any length to find them.
Along the way, he runs into Rey (Pattinson), Henry's brother, gut shot and left for dead. Eric offers Rey his take on things: “Your brother doesn't care about you, no one cares about anyone, help me find them.”
Rey, with little choice, goes along. Pattinson plays the character with a thick-as-kudzu Southern accent, like he is Gomer Pyle's less-intelligent cousin (Goober was smarter). But, like many characters of this type, he may be deeper than his talk and actions suggest.
Michod's patience with scenes, while laudable, is, at times, too much. Long stretches pass with little happening.
It's not exactly an uplifting film. But stick with it, admire the performances, and “The Rover” is worth your while in the end.
Bill Goodykoontz is the chief film critic for Gannett News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.