The story of "The Rover" is set in Australia, 10 years after a cataclysmic event they call "The Collapse." Eric is a farmer whose car gets stolen by three hoodlums. For some mysterious reason only he knows, he is hellbent in getting his car back from them at all costs. In his quest, Eric meets Ray, the injured younger brother of one of the thieves. He helps Ray get medical help and later brings him along with him on his grim road trip in search of his precious car.
Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson had been thoroughly immersed for their roles as Erik and Ray, respectively. They both looked like they have not taken a shower for a month, disheveled and smelly, with flies flying around them. Pearce plays a strong silent type of man, so he relies on his expressive face to deliver his message, and he does so effectively. Pattinson is so far removed from his Edward Cullen persona. He is riveting as the simpleton Ray, and he is completely transformed with his character's little tics and mannerisms.
It was practically a silent film written and directed by David Michôd. There was hardly any dialogue. If there was, it would be in a slurred garbled heavy Australian accent which you can hardly understand. The dialogue is not really essential in this film as well as the actions speak louder than words. However, you can pick up some quotable quotes along the way. A particularly haunting line for me is: "You should not forget about a life you have taken away. It is the price you pay for taking it."
The musical soundtrack is as strange and quirky as the story. Hearing Pattinson singing along to Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock," with those catchy lyrics "Don't hate me 'coz I'm beautiful" is probably the only moment of pure ironic humor in the whole film. The stark photography of the bleak Australian outback is very much complementary to the spirit of the film, as well as the perfectly chaotic production design.
"The Rover" is not an easy film to sit through. It is dusty and dirty throughout its one hour and forty minute running time. It is relentlessly bleak and graphically violent. This is definitely not mainstream stuff, but for serious art film lovers, there is a lot of artistic aspects that can be appreciated. 6/10
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."