Director David Michôd continues to carve a name for himself in the world of gripping independent dramas. In 2010, he directed the critically acclaimed Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom. Michôd continues the trend with his new apocalyptic road trip movie The Rover, starring Guy Pierce as man on a relentless mission.
The movie starts in a bleached-out Australia following a societal breakdown. The landscape feels more like the land described in Stephen King's Gunslinger than the dystopian-punk world depicted in George Miller's popular Mad Max series. The people live in dust-riddled shacks widely spread across the dead landscape. There is little to no trust between anyone as people seem to be fending for themselves in this new Wild West.
The film follows Pierce's Eric, a mysterious loner whose car is stolen by three criminals fleeing a bank robbery. Eventually Eric meets Rey (played by a nearly unrecognizable Robert Pattinson), the brother of one of the men who stole his car. Pattinson's Rey is a man who is clearly not all there mentally. He constantly seems distracted and distant, almost struggling to put his thoughts to words. Rey is trying to find his brother, who left him at the scene of the robbery after he was shot. Eric takes Rey captive once he realizes who he is and forces him along in the search for his stolen car.
Why Eric is after the car is never fully explained until the very last scene of the film, but we do learn about why his character has all but given up. He reveals his disturbing past in a powerful scene after he's captured by soldiers. While being interrogated, Eric reveals a crime he committed and the powerful depression he feels after realizing there was no consequence for his action.
The images in The Rover pair perfectly with the minimal dialogue. The film is filled with bleak sun bleached landscapes, and never shies from the violence that rules this ruined land. The chilling soundtrack also goes a long way to convey the bleak nature of the narrative. It utilizes ambient sounds and haunting instrumentals to help get across the feel of this desolate world filled with pain and suffering.
One of the best parts about The Rover is it never over-explains anything. We don't know exactly what led to the financial catastrophe, but that's not what the movie is focusing on. Rather, we get one man's painful story, his mission to recover something he truly cares for in a burned-out world where the comforts of modern society no longer exist.
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Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-09-03 00:44:29 GMT
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