The Rover (Drama, Western) (2014)
Director: David Michôd
Writer: David Michôd, Joel Edgerton
Stars: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, David Field
Set in Australia ten years after a global economic collapse, the world is transformed into a lawless wasteland with people left to fend for themselves. One such person is Eric (Guy Pearce), who, while taking a break from travelling the endless roads, gets his car stolen by a group of three men. As he gives chase, he runs into one of the men's brother, and together they track them down to return what was stolen from him.
With an unusual apocalyptic setting, "The Rover" immediately feels different with its themes of hopelessness and a creeping eeriness; being effective in delivering what it tries to. Much of the setting is reminiscent of the "Mad Max" franchise, and you'd be able to picture it as something that was the start of the world we see in that fictional universe. As a relatively new director at the time of creating "The Rover," David Michôd has a brilliant cast with Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, the latter being most well-known due to "The Twilight Saga" but truly stepping out of that frame in this film and entering the role of a person Kristin Stewart definitely wouldn't have fallen in love with. Although it's similarities to the apocalyptic action franchise "Mad Max", "The Rover" feels much like a silent film; there's still plenty of dialogue. Yet, the looks and mannerisms from Guy Pearce's rough character certainly transfer that tone. Once he meets Rey (Robert Pattinson), a lot of character building is done in merely a few scenes, being as respectful to the viewer as possible, cutting down the running time to just under two hours.
Going along with the depressing tones and the aspects of silent cinema is the soundtrack dealing out oppressive, scratchy sounds combined with orchestral and tribal notes. Easily outweighing its downsides, "The Rover" has been one of the most memorable movies in Australian cinema for me personally; being not as profound as the classics, it comes close. At no point does it end up spoiling the viewer with too many details, instead, letting them discover this world on their own, being delighted with every gentle lift of the curtain. Able to be considered a slow feature, "The Rover" Continuously engages with a bit of action in between in a brutal tight rope act.
As a prime example of a creative modern western, "The Rover" is blessed with brilliant acting and simplicity in script whilst holding on to that little bit of complexity in morals and character.
Despite Pearce's depiction of Eric's strenuous wander through the Australian desert, "The Rover" seems to be a delight rather than torment.