Movie Review - The Rover

Robert Pattinson's character isn't good
with a gun in Australian film "The Rover"
Australian filmmaker David Michôd made a name for himself a couple of years ago with Animal Kingdom (2010). He's back with this dystopian future set in the Outback that's essentially a Western. It's set in the future yet you'd never know it. Aside from the lawlessness and overall outlook of people, there's no distinction that this is much further than ten years from now, specifically in terms of technology. It's certainly not better than the Australian Western set in the past The Proposition (2006). However, both films star the same actor.

Guy Pearce (Memento and The Proposition) stars as the nameless man who stops at a bar or something in the middle of the desert in his four-door sedan. Not much is known about him. He apparently has little fear and can be brutal in a very deadly way. We learn this when a truck carrying three men crashes across the street from the bar. The three men are identified only by their physical attributes. There's an old guy, a black guy and a younger, white guy. All three steal the nameless man's sedan and take-off. However, the nameless man is able to start the crashed truck and pursue them.

The entire movie is then the nameless man going after the three men to get his car back. He kills anyone who gets in his way with little regard for anything else. His most offensive and most gross act is when he kills at point black range a dwarf when he could have just knocked him out.

The nameless man encounters a fourth man who is the mentally-challenged brother of one of the three guys, the younger white guy who comes to be known as Henry, played by Scoot McNairy (Argo and Killing Them Softly). The mentally-challenged brother is called Rey, played by Robert Pattinson (Twilight and Water for Elephants). Henry left Rey for dead after some incident. Rey recovers, gets taken by the nameless man and just wants to reunite with Henry.

There's an interesting road trip, chase movie and slightly, futuristic Western to be had in this setup. Michôd's writing just isn't enough to hold it together. For example, there's a question at the very beginning that Michôd never answers, which by not answering undermines the rest of the piece. That question is why don't Henry and the other guys just give the nameless man his car back.

An early moment presents the opportunity for Henry and the two other guys to return the sedan and get their truck back, do a simple swap and get rid of the nameless man, but they don't. It's ridiculous. The solution is so simple, which is true in a lot of movies, but Michôd needed something more solid or else not have that opportunity early in the film.

The other problem is that the nameless man is so unlikeable. By the end, it's unclear why anyone should care to follow this man. He's cold, vengeful, empty and has no real redeeming values.

One Star out of Five.
Rated R for language and some bloody violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 42 mins.


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