For Reel

The Rover (2014)
December 8, 2014, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Michôd
4 Stars
The RoverThe extent of the exposition that The Rover offers the audience is that its events occur, “Ten years after the collapse.” Whatever happened to the world, it’s entirely unfamiliar–if not exactly post-apocalyptic in the sense that we’ve come to know the genre, one gets the sense that the only ones still surviving are those that take advantage of the new world’s lawlessness. Our protagonist, a loner with a haunted past (Guy Pearce), is just as merciless as those he encounters. He’s on the hunt for a band of criminals that have stolen his car, forcibly dragging along the dim-witted brother (Robert Pattinson) of one of the culprits (Scoot McNairy) as a guide. The bloodshed that follows seems awfully extreme for a stolen car–in this world, stealing cars seems fairly commonplace. Small mysteries like that are what The Rover uses to maintains its narrative interest. Much of the dialogue involves questioning–characters searching for information about identities, motivations, etc.–which is apt for a film that engages the viewer with a dearth of information. Perhaps that sense of mystery is what makes Pattinson’s performance so effective. Playing a childlike dimwit, Pattinson is able to communicate the thought process of his character with facial ticks and hesitations. There’s a certain tragedy to it. In moments where he thinks he’s outsmarted Pearce, his face registers the naive confidence of a man who thinks he’s in control… only it’s always evident that he’s several steps behind. No matter how hard he tries, he has no secrets.

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