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Review: The Rover

Jun. 20, 2014by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Australia: ten years after the fall. When Eric’s (Guy Pearce) car is stolen by a gang of thugs, he pursues them across the outback. He stumbles upon the wounded Ray (Robert Pattinson) – a former member of said gang. The two men form an uneasy alliance, with the ultimate goal being payback. But for what exactly?

REVIEW: The post-apocalyptic genre has strong roots in Australian cinema. Going back to MAD MAX and the legions of clones that followed, there’s something about the desolate, endless roads of the Australian outback that gives off a dystopian vibe, where the only thing more dangerous than the elements is man himself.

THE ROVER takes the genre and gives it a nihilistic, somewhat elegiac spin. Whether or not the so-called “fall” is economic, nuclear, or otherwise is never explicitly stated, but the idea is that after only ten years society has crumbled. The only semblances of law are roving crews of soldiers-for-hire, who are just trying to scrape-by like everyone else. Enter into all this madness Guy Pearce’s Eric. Suffice to say, he’s no Mad Max. He’s no better or worse than anyone else.

While his backstory is only gradually revealed over the course of the film, he gives off the vibe of being a formerly regular guy who’s utterly lost any sense of compassion or humanity after years of scraping by in this ultra-violent world. His ultimate connection to his stolen car isn’t revealed until much later in the film, but it could be interpreted that it’s a symbol of his former life. It’s certainly not something as simple as being a tool he needs to survive, as it takes him literally seconds to acquire a new vehicle in order to give chase.

Guy Pearce is a pretty consistently underrated actor and it’s nice to see him back in a leading role. This is arguably his best work since John Hillcoat’s THE PROPOSITION, and it’s a hard, ambiguous part. He’s utterly unheroic, nihilistic to the point of being murderous, and possibly only chasing his lost car because it gives him something to do.

Of the two, Robert Pattinson as the neglected Ray is probably easier to like. Simpleminded to the point of being dangerous, Pattinson is really surprising in a role far removed from anything he’s ever done. Often criticized for his vacuous stare, this actually fits Ray to a tee, and he’s incredibly effective in a part that will likely shock his die-hard TWILIGHT-fans, but delight those of us who’ve been wondering if he’d ever get a part that demonstrated some real chops. This is that part.

At times, the relationship between Pearce and Pattinson almost makes this feel like a kind of post-apocalyptic take on "Of Mice & Men", albeit far bleaker to the point that by comparison thematically similar movies like THE ROAD look light and frothy by comparison. This is starkly different from director David Michôd’s last film, the brilliant ANIMAL KINGDOM. While maybe not in the same class as that, THE ROVER is a strong follow-up, reminiscent of many of his Australian contemporaries like Andrew Dominik, and John Hillcoat. It’s bold and uncompromising, but often quite beautiful, with stunning Outback photography by Natasha Braier and a minimal but haunting score by Antony Partos. The bleakness in the material will probably put-off a large chunk of the audience, but those with a little tolerance for the depressing will be rewarded by a truly unconventional piece of speculative sci-fi. Imagine MAD MAX if it had been directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:19PM on 06/20/2014

10/10 in my opinion.

Just got out of seeing it, the last 15 minutes is beautiful filmmaking and packs an emotional sucker punch. Bravo to Rob and Guy, great acting the whole way through, will never look at Rob the same way again as an actor.
Just got out of seeing it, the last 15 minutes is beautiful filmmaking and packs an emotional sucker punch. Bravo to Rob and Guy, great acting the whole way through, will never look at Rob the same way again as an actor.
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3:49PM on 06/20/2014

The Rover goes wide June 20th

The info below is incorrect, last week The Rover had a limited release in NY and LA, but as of today expands nationwide in over 600 theatres here [link]
The info below is incorrect, last week The Rover had a limited release in NY and LA, but as of today expands nationwide in over 600 theatres here [link]
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8:15AM on 06/20/2014

Playing at a theater 5 miles away from me......

Sounds good, I like Rob and Guy.
Sounds good, I like Rob and Guy.
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7:16AM on 06/20/2014
Looking forward to seeing either this or The Immigrant tonight. I'll have to catch whichever I don't choose tomorrow. Either way, I think it's going to be a good weekend!
Looking forward to seeing either this or The Immigrant tonight. I'll have to catch whichever I don't choose tomorrow. Either way, I think it's going to be a good weekend!
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3:25AM on 06/20/2014

Released in only 5 theaters in North America !!!!???? WTF !!!!!

I liked it, even if not as much as you (6/10 in my books) , I was talking about this film with american friends who said me the movie was playing nowhere in america, after checking on boxofficemojo.com, I learned that " the rover " is released in only 5 poor theaters in north america (including Canada so) !!!!!
In France, " the rover " is playing in 127 theaters !!!! Wow ! I thought pattinson was a star in America, but apparently not... or no distributor believes in this movie ! I can say
I liked it, even if not as much as you (6/10 in my books) , I was talking about this film with american friends who said me the movie was playing nowhere in america, after checking on boxofficemojo.com, I learned that " the rover " is released in only 5 poor theaters in north america (including Canada so) !!!!!
In France, " the rover " is playing in 127 theaters !!!! Wow ! I thought pattinson was a star in America, but apparently not... or no distributor believes in this movie ! I can say the same thing for David Cronenberg's " Maps to the stars " (starring Pattinson to): not even released in your beautiful country and in 239 theaters in France !
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5:25AM on 06/20/2014
Hell,i`m in NZ.A three hour flight to OZ and it`s not playing here till August.Thats how much Aussies hate us.
Hell,i`m in NZ.A three hour flight to OZ and it`s not playing here till August.Thats how much Aussies hate us.
7:14AM on 06/20/2014
Is it really playing in such limited release? I only question that because it's playing at my local theatre, and nothing in such limited release ever comes around here.
Is it really playing in such limited release? I only question that because it's playing at my local theatre, and nothing in such limited release ever comes around here.
7:56AM on 06/20/2014
ypu seem very Lucky to because according to this website :
[link]
ypu seem very Lucky to because according to this website :
[link]
1:24AM on 06/20/2014
Looks great. Huge fan of Pierce and will be seeing this tomorrow. Been anticipating it ever since I saw the trailer.
Looks great. Huge fan of Pierce and will be seeing this tomorrow. Been anticipating it ever since I saw the trailer.
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6:28AM on 06/20/2014
very lucky with such limited showings.
very lucky with such limited showings.
7:14AM on 06/20/2014
Very lucky indeed.
Very lucky indeed.
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