David Michod, who directed the Oscar-nominated “Animal Kingdom” in 2010, is making a name for himself as the Scorsese of Australia. His first movie had a family of hardened criminals led by a bordering-on-incestuous mom, played by the Oscar-nominated Jacki Weaver.
In the post-apocalyptic “The Rover”, practically everyone on screen is a lawbreaker, mainly through circumstance. The movie opening tells us it’s ten years “since the collapse”. Apparently it was a total economic collapse , leading to the collapse of society. The movie is situated in the Australian Outback, which sets the look for this very bleak , bloody film.
What makes this film a standout is the acting. Guy Pearce plays a loner (we never even learn his name) on an obsessed mission to recover his stolen car from a gang of criminals. His unlikely partner is played by Rob Pattinson, the intellectually-challenged brother of one of gangsters, left for dead after a shootout. He joins the hunt for his brother and his gang, angered that his brother abandoned him . Just why Pearce’s loner dude is so desperate to get back his car is never explained til last scene, though there are hints along the way. Pattinson does his career-best acting here. He’s a revelation. It’s clear Pattinson is on a mission to move way, way on from his “Twilight” days and prove to us there’s more than meets the eye.
This is a road trip apocalyptic movie- not quite as depressing as Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”. But there’s not much hope here. And not much humanity, either.