The Rover – Australian road movie that runs out of gas

Josh Mulrine 17 June 2014

Fresh off its midnight screening in Cannes, The Rover, is a psychological crime drama that leads us into a world of random encounters while engulfing us in the minds of the star actors.

This futuristic western is set ten years after the global economy has collapsed. The rich mineral resources of Australia now attract outsiders, and desperate outlaws to the country. The outback has turned into a Mad Max style lawless wasteland.

The tough guy Eric (Guy Pearce) travels alone on the road of the Australian outback, when a gang of thieves steal his car. The gang leaves behind a wounded member of their gang, Rey (Robert Pattinson), who is forced by Eric to help him follow the tracks of the bandits to capture his revenge.

A slow eerie score draws us even deeper into the psyche of the lead characters. Unfortunately the terribly inconsistent attempt at continuity throughout the film snapped me out of this deep trance far too regularly. Practically every scene Rey has a freshly pressed shirt even though he is vigilante-ing through the dusty, desolate outback.


Stunning cinematography by Natasha Braier helps stitch the film back together with a clear sense of atmosphere and mood. The slightly over exposed outside shots left me reaching for my drink to quench the hot desert sun.

The blazing gaze of Guy is piercing enough to haunt you long after the movie has ended. The unexpected friendship forged with Pattinson is powerful without words. The silent gazes are enough for the pair to know exactly what each other is thinking.

I’m quite disappointed with director David Michod who made a big impact with his 2010 gangland thriller, Animal Kingdom that was set in Melbourne. Even though the script led us through some nice twists and turns I think it needed a few more drafts before launching into production.

Overall The Rover was okay for an Australian film but if we want to really compete on an international playing field, we’re going to have to try a lot harder.

I give The Rover 6/10

Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes, Gillian Jones and Susan Prior.

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