What would the world look like if all the dystopian talk in Hollywood films actually happened? The Rover tries to give us a glimpse of one man's journey, but its minimalist style drains a lot of needed color from what could have been Oscar glory.
The Rover tells the story of a world gone mad, 10 years after an economic collapse in Australia. There, American dollars are preferred, gas and food are scarce, and killing appears to be the preferred way of doing things. Enter the scraggly-bearded Eric (Guy Pearce), whose car is stolen by three thugs after a shooting leaves the fourth thug Rey (Robert Pattinson) critically injured. As Eric pursues the trio to get his car back, he comes into contact with half-wit Rey, who knows where his compatriots have stolen off. Rather than take the truck which Rey's friends have left behind, Eric strangely resolves to get his car back, creating a trail of blood and bodies that sets the stage for a violent showdown with Rey caught in the crossfire.
Pearce is an engaging actor who can sell a scene merely by looking at the camera - his laser-sharp glances tell you of a man driven over the edge with nothing to lose, a symbol of a world that's gone off the deep end. Pattinson demonstrates that he can have a successful dramatic career post-Twilight, provided he can secure similarly juicy roles. Everyone else is window dressing, offering no deeper character elements than their oddly endowed physical features. Sadly, we soon become desensitized to such randomness, as Michôd parades them past us rather than taking a moment for us to become associated. This lack of sincerity makes their deaths feel empty and meaningless, which might be the point of the film after all. What does work for us is the most bizarre score we've heard in 2014 - Composer Antony Partos's stinging elements resonate throughout the picture, setting an immediate and unapologetic tone.
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