From start to finish the desert, the heat and the unceasing amount of flies envelope this film, and it’s captured so well it almost feels as if you are a part of this desolate world. Unforgiving is the single word I would use to describe The Rover. Nothing about this, not the main characters and certainly not the conclusion to the story, gives any sign of an attempt to make you feel better. This is a world of survival pure and simple and the lengths these characters go to is shocking. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to anyone’s actions; it’s a sort of shoot-first-or-die kind of world. The conversations are minimal and scarce with information. At first this bothered me, I wanted more of an in depth background on these people, but I never got it. The realization I came to after the credits rolled is that in this abandoned world, who is who doesn’t really matter anymore; it’s more of a, “Are you going to kill me?” kind of environment.
This is a film that tries to show accurately what the end may look and feel like. It’s not over the top with creatures running around or super humans ruling the remains of a dying planet. It simply, and in an extremely gritty fashion, shows life after an economic crash and its consequences. One of my favorite aspects to this idea is the concept that money is still clinging on for dear life. Despite lawlessness, money is still used in exchange for products or services. It’s a sort of western meets Mad Max. The real highlight here is the characters played wonderfully by a very talented cast, led by the always intense Guy Pearce. There are no heroes here, only those who survive and those that do not. As the movie continues on we learn different details about each character that give us an idea of what kind of people they are, but lets us assume whatever we’re going to assume. The point of not showing who they were and how they got this way is to show how these characters think; they just don’t care anymore. A name at this point is useless and conversation seems like nothing more than empty and pointless words. This world they live in is difficult and it feels like it’s a place that should have been left behind long ago, but people refuse to leave. In an unforgiving story, why would anything overly positive happen, to appease the audience? Not here, look elsewhere for an optimistic ending.
Eric (Pearce) has nothing left but his car and the shirt on his back. Ten years after an economic crash in Australia, everyone is left to fend for themselves. The world may not have technically ended but it certainly feels that way. When Eric sees his precious last remaining possession get stolen, he sets out on a journey to take back his property at any cost. With virtually nothing to claim, something as insignificant as a car getting stolen suddenly becomes a means of retribution and vengeance for Eric. He doesn’t care why they stole it he just wants it back and will kill anyone in his way. At a detour he meets a man who has recently been shot in the belly. Rey (Robert Pattinson) is a simple-minded man who doesn’t seem to have any real thoughts of his own. He kind of just does what he’s told, and when Eric learns of Rey’s relation to the men that stole his car Eric demands that Rey take him to these men and he does so. Along their precarious journey they must defend and kill just to continue on. Eric is interested in one thing and everyone in his way is just adding fuel to an already raging inferno that is driving him to do sometimes heinous acts of violence.
I spoke of it briefly in the first line but the cinematography is beautiful and horrifyingly real. It’s a world that we are not ready to face but just may be on its way regardless. This shows that world visually in a gritty and forsaken manner that creates a sense of hopelessness. Do not see this expecting a happy ending, there isn’t one; it simply concludes. The flies are in abundance, the violence is around nearly every corner and it never shies away from any of it. It’s much like a documentary where one simply hits play and watches everything unfold; there is no meaning to much of this and that is the point. Every person must make their own meaning and if you don’t you may feel alone and angry and this can cause some problems much like it did for Eric. This is a personal positive aspect to the film; I am excited to hear of all the Pattinson fan girls going to see because he is in it. This isn’t sparkly vampires and emotionless actresses, and Pattinson isn’t so lovable or mysterious here. They are going to get a rude awakening with this one and that makes me happy. This movie makes me happy in that it doesn’t cater to the typical forever-after ending. This is morose and unfortunate and it’s a real joy to watch. Ironic…
Rated R For: language and some bloody violence
Run Time: 102 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy
Directed By: David Michôd
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls