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The Rover might not be about anything at all, but the dust it stirs up sticks to you after you leave the theater.
Bleak, brutal and unrelentingly nihilist, and with only sporadic flashes of the blackest, most mordant humor to lighten the load, it feels parched, like the story has simply boiled away in the desert heat and all that’s left are its desiccated bones. In a good way.
For most post-apocalyptic films, the nightmare is really a disguised fantasy. In Michôd's excellent The Rover, the nightmare is real.
Michod’s sophomore feature isn’t exactly something we’ve never seen before, but it has a desolate beauty all its own, and a career-redefining performance by Robert Pattinson that reveals untold depths of sensitivity and feeling in the erstwhile “Twilight” star.
The Hollywood Reporter
Always commanding attention at the film’s center is Pearce, who, under a taciturn demeanor, gives Eric all the cold-hearted remorselessness of a classic Western or film noir anti-hero who refuses to die before exacting vengeance for an unpardonable crime.
Michôd creates a good deal of ambient menace in The Rover; Pearce has a simmering presence. But I felt there was a bit of muddle, and the clean lines of conflict and tension had been blurred: the dystopian future setting doesn't add much and hasn't been very rigorously imagined.
While there are some very strong performances in the film, the movie is inert, dramatically speaking, and covers such familiar ground that I can't really recommend it.
Like its tattered setting, The Rover is scattered with intriguing ideas never successfully fleshed out.
A dark, dreary and dull “Mad Max in Neutral” from director David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom”) that tries to pass off its blunt narrative and repetitiveness as some sort of style.
Michôd’s film consciously plays like an outback western, peppered with jagged and unpredictable outbursts of hard brutality. But it could do with losing control a little more often – and with establishing the dangers of its dog-eat-dog world more precisely.
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