Set in a dystopian future, Eric (Guy Pierce) momentarily leaves his car in the Australian outback and walks across to a tin-shed tavern. Waiting for his drink, we see a whirlwind of chaos erupt outside as three bank robbers steal his car. From his mute expression upon exiting to his sandblasted stare that follows their dust trail, you know this was a bad idea that only is going to get even worse.
‘The Rover’ starring Guy Pierce and Robert Pattinson, directed by David Michôd is a slow burn thriller. Suffused with a sunburnt atmosphere that drips with both a sweat and a grime that glues your eye to the onscreen drama, it will parch your breath from its opening minutes. On the empty canvas that is the Australian outback, the dialogue here is as sparse as the water in this fetchingly lean drama whose pace is unapologetically slow but it is beautifully married to the manner of its cast.
With a superb jarring score and wizened cinematography to compliment it, ‘The Rover’ etches every frame with facial cracks and dirt-filled pores, as Guy Pierce’s eyes bore out of the screen. Lacerating all of those around him with a 100 watt stare, this is unquestionably Pierce’s fiercest role to date. Increasingly hostile with each emotion denied, Pierce’s take as Eric is more than ably matched by Robert Pattinson’s career best performance as Rey. With no trace of accent or Twilight teen-heart-throb past, it is clear that Pattinson is 100% immersed in his performance as Rey – as you will be too.
As the ‘The Rover’ corkscrews down to its finale, the tension builds up unbearably and you will find yourself inexplicably bound to both Eric and Rey’s fates as they are to each other. In a criminally-unknown feature, ‘The Rover’ is that rare gem of a movie whose time in the box office evaporated too soon to garner either the audience or the reviews it deserves.
As a caustic companion to David Michôd’s earlier and equally sublime ‘Animal Kingdom’, this is a film about a man with nothing to lose, and yet it has so much to offer as a piece of movie-making. Seek it out now for a satisfying suspense-laden thriller.