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DVD Review – The Rover

2 min read

Like with the critically acclaimed 2010 film Animal Kingdom, director David Michôd constructs another masterful feature filled with dreary, sullen imagery and successfully elicits powerful performances from his lead actors. 

The Rover Inserted Image

The Rover tells the story of enigmatic Eric (Guy Pearce) and his journey to find the men – Archie (David Field), Caleb (Tawanda Manyimo) and Henry (Scoot McNairy) – who stole his car, against the background of the punishing Australian outback, years after a global economic collapse. Eric eventually teams up with injured Rey (Robert Pattinson) to exact retribution on the robbers.

Michôd creates an incredibly captivating Australian landscape, paired with the high tension atmosphere, the film effectively shows the tribulations that could potentially occur in a post collapse world. Although, the screenplay, also written by Michôd, leaves many odd and unanswered questions such as Eric’s purpose for retrieving his stolen car, the surprising conclusion uncovers the justification for Eric’s actions in an unexpectedly endearing way.

What was interesting was the swift opening of the plot, forcing the audience to immediately examine the storyline, without providing heavy introductory context. Unfortunately, much like the barren terrain illustrated, The Rover lacks a captivating narrative – dry and dismal.

However, what makes up for the film’s inadequate storyline are the exceptional performances led by Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Pattinson suprisingly proves his prowess, delivering an exceptionally damaged, erratic persona, though, Pearce clearly takes the spotlight with his insensitive and commanding performance; the savage anti-hero of dystopian Australia.

One of the highlights of the film is the remarkable cinematography by Natasha Braier, who creates an outstandingly bleak and desolate Australian outback landscape in a dystopian field. Antony Partos terrifically composes a grave, foreboding score, that, paired with effective cinematography, creates an authentic backdrop to the post apocalyptic Australia. Australia itself is fittingly utilised through the environment setting such as Maree, South Adelaide to accurately depict the tough, isolating Australian desert.
Regardless of the weak spots in The Rover’s narrative concept, the film holds its own with compelling performances from Pearce and Pattinson and the grim beauty of the Australian desert.