Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, David Field, Nash Edgerton, Gillian Jones (Rated MA – 102 min).
Blood is spilled with little or no remorse in this harsh, frightening drama that simmers along before detonation. It’s really hard to shake off what happens and it’s certainly not a movie for everybody. Images play on your mind long after the final credits roll.
In similar circumstances to the cult classic Mad Max, set in the near future after a never fully explained global economic collapse, new world order is almost non-existent along the desolate highways in the Australian outback.
A bearded disheveled quietly spoken Guy Pearce plays Eric. In need of a break from driving, he stops by a seedy karaoke bar in the middle of nowhere. Around the corner is a gang of thieves in need of a getaway car after a bungled robbery. The desperate criminals steal Eric’s automobile in unorganised fashion actually leaving one of their wounded at the scene to hopefully die. Eric is usually passive but this causes hysteria, he vows to get his stolen car back and teach the fugitives a direct lesson in ownership transferral.
Bleeding and impaired, Rey (Robert Pattinson) forms an unhappy alliance with Eric to track down his so called friends. What follows is a horrific road trip that takes more than a few uncharacteristic turns in narrative. Misdirected rage is on the brink throughout, weary and teetering on violence at any point, this pair are volatile.
Visionary Australian Director David Michod had global recognition for Animal Kingdom, concluding with an Oscar nomination for Jacki Weaver. His moody, dark and cold storytelling is again on show here reminding me of the discomfort I experienced when first watching a resembling film, The Hitcher. Robert Pattinson is best known as the ‘Twilight guy’ Edward, so don’t be alarmed at the following statement. He can act. Not quite Oscar-worthy, RPatz is proficient in a career defining performance proving his excellence in Water for Elephants, was no fluke. Immersing himself as the southern American accented Rey, alarmingly he will hold your attention.
One of Australia’s best actors Guy Pearce is brilliant in anything (even the remake of The Time Machine). As Eric, he chooses to leave the kindness of his former life behind to restore personal dignity regaining his last possession, the car which was taken from him. Arid Flinders Rangers locations adds to the gritty, haunting feel The Rover revels in. Be warned, holding your breath or covering your eyes may be mandatory during unfolding events, the scenery is the only pretty thing on show here.
Shane A. Bassett