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When Animal Kingdom came out in 2010, the world was suddenly introduced to David Michod. With the gritty, pulse pounding chronicle of an Australian crime family, the Australian director hit the scene and many wondered what he was going to do next. Photos started spreading of Guy Pierce and Rob Pattinson in a Mad Max-esque world and anticipation began to grow. Now the film is streaming digitally everywhere and it’s time to take a look.
In the not-too-distant future, most of the world’s economy has collapsed and millions of people around the world are flocking to Australia. A mysterious loner, Eric, is trekking across the outback when his car is stolen by a group of bank robbers. In a desperate attempt to flee, one of the robbers, Rey, is left behind. Eric takes him along on a quest to track down his cohorts and get back his car.
The Rover is an interesting yarn, equal parts contemplative and nice to look at. Michod tried to be more ambitious on this project with the serene setting and bigger effects and at times he succeeds. However, the story doesn’t quite hit the beats to keep the audience’s attention. Though once the film concludes and you see what all the trouble was for, it forces you to reevaluate everything, but it can be hard at times to sit through it up to that point.
The two leads help move things along. Guy Pierce is a remarkably talented actor and what he does with Eric is good stuff. Though it would be nice if most of his screen time wasn’t dedicated to grunts and mean glances. Rob Pattinson tries to get away from the Twilight black hole and does some interesting work, but it’s not always good work. Their relationship is the core of the film, but it’s a strange pairing that works really well at times, and not at all in others.
The Rover is not a tremendous film, but it has its moments. The cinematography is stunning, but the story doesn’t hit you the way that it should. It’s trying to be a moody, atmospheric contemplation on meaning and the human condition, but it doesn’t draw as compelling a story out of that as it should. The Rover is not as good as Animal Kingdom, but still worth a try.
The Rover is now available for digital streaming, and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 23, 2014.