The Rover

Directed By: David Michôd

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, and Scoot McNairy

I've been begging for something fresh and original over the last several weeks. In my reviews of The Signal, The Grand Seduction, and Think Like a Man Too, I've been critical of filmmakers for not taking the road less traveled and offering up the same old predictable, formulaic stuff.  Well, my wish is apparently director David Michôd's command.  His latest film, The Rover is unlike anything I've seen in quite some time.  While it's far from perfect, this futuristic western is a step back in the right direction.

Ten years ago, the global economy came to a grinding halt.  Those who survived this catastrophe move down under to Australia.  When a robbery goes terribly awry, perpetrators Henry (Scoot McNairy), Archie (David Field), and Caleb (Tawanda Manyimo) flee the scene.  In the process, the trio leaves Henry's seriously injured brother Rey (Robert Pattinson) for dead at the scene.  During their drive, Archie and Henry get into an argument over Rey.  Things get physical, and they cause Caleb to crash.  When they can't start their truck, they steal the car of a quiet loner named Eric (Guy Pearce).  This guy can't take a joke, however.  Eric starts their crashed vehicle up and begins hunting them down.  Nobody steals his car and gets away with it.

The Rover is a futuristic, dystopian western that blends various genres to create one rather uniquely thrilling cinematic experience.  Director David Michôd crafts a fascinating film that gives us a taste of what the Wild Wild West might have been in today's world had it persisted (with an Australian twist).  With this, Michôd keeps his audience's curiosity piqued.  While the story flounders a bit at times and the ending is disappointingly anticlimactic, the world Michôd builds and the characters he creates are undeniably captivating.  Regardless of mistakes made, you can't help but watch this film from start to finish.

Michôd draws compelling performances from his cast to intrigue us throughout the movie.  For his part as the murderous Eric, Guy Pearce can't take a joke.  This silent, brooding menace is a product of this lawless world and makes it known at every turn.  He makes this known emphatically with his body language, his facial expressions, and his disdain for the vast majority of other characters in the film.  You simply won't be able to turn away from Pearce's performance.  For his part as Rey, Robert Pattinson steps out of his comfort zone as an actor.  Portraying this mentally challenged character, he takes on a role where he lacks self-confidence and depends heavily on Pearce's Eric.  At the same time, he relishes in dealing in blood.  All in all, Pattinson does well here.

The Rover hits the spot at a much-needed time.  This engaging crime flick is not perfect, but it's a damn interesting ride.  The Rover gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a couple of mimosas with this one.