Movie Review
The Rover
The Rover poster
By Craig Younkin     Published June 27, 2014
US Release: June 13, 2014

Directed by: David Michôd
Starring: Guy Pearce , Robert Pattinson

R for language and some bloody violence
Running Time: 102 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $1,019,000
It would probably be worth it if the movie had something new to say but it doesn’t seem like it’s trying to say much of anything.
Craig Younkin is also a reviewer for Movie Room Reviews

If you’ve seen one dystopian thriller, you’ve seen them all. In the case of “The Rover,” you’ve also probably seen a better one. Director David Michod’s follow-up to the gritty and suspenseful “Animal Kingdom” is sort of a weak tea version of “Mad Max.” Both are Australian films that take place during the collapse of Australia’s civilization, both feature angry, dirty men chasing each other in their cars or shooting at each other, and everybody has an inner turmoil made all the worse now that society has turned cold and soulless.

Where “The Rover” comes up short though is, first, in its ambiguousness. Guy Pearce is a lonely drifter driving a BMW, Scoot McNairy is one of several thieves trying to get away, and Robert Pattinson is McNairy’s brother, and the fourth one of these bank robbers who has been left behind after getting shot. The three guys steal Pearce’s car, Pearce finds Pattinson and gets him all stitched up so he can tell him where the brother is headed, there’s lots of talk about how hard everything is now, at one point we do learn Pattinson’s character’s name but I’d already checked out by then. It’s basically a vague bore.

Pearce plays his role by doing hard stares and looking like the world just sodomized him and it takes a while for us to figure out just what his problem is and even when we do, it hardly seems worth the effort of getting there. He and Pattinson are supposed to make up a George and Lenny (from “Of Mice and Men”) situation and even though Pattinson plays this simple-minded redneck really well, it’s never enough to make them seem like anything other than an angry guy and an idiot traveling together. Nor is the brief scene at the beginning of the movie enough to make us want to see the three villains get their comeuppance.

And there’s no real suspense here. There are gun fights but Michod purposely makes them unappealing and tragic to show the weightiness of living in this kind of dog eat dog world. It’s not fun, but it would probably be worth it if the movie had something new to say but for the most part it doesn’t seem like it’s trying to say much of anything.
Craig's Grade: C
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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