Sunday, December 21, 2014

Film Review: The Rover (2014)

The Rover (Review)
Australia/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Lionsgate)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...simple yet engaging and haunting..."

Ten years after a global economic collapse, a loner (Guy Pearce) finds himself hunting down his stolen vehicle in the Australian outback...

The Rover is a simplistic narrative. The story follows the loner, Eric, as he obsessively searches for his vehicle, which was stolen by a group of bandits after a robbery-gone-wrong. Fortunately for Eric, the bandits had left one behind: the injured and dependent Rey (Robert Pattinson), who is also the brother of another bandit, Henry (Scoot McNairy). Eric and Rey cross paths and the pair eventually travel to Henry's location. The plot has a few minor flaws, but it builds up well to its haunting climax and ending.

Despite its simplicity, I really enjoyed The Rover. The plot kept me hooked from beginning to end. There's a real human drama here. When it's not a drama, it's a brutal thriller. I suppose that's the best way to describe the plot: brutal or, better yet, haunting. The character and relationship development adds to this haunting atmosphere, as well; I also loved the subtlety of this aspect. The dystopian world, which is similar to Mad Max, was also very immersive. The pace is slow yet effective. It helped build up the tension and atmosphere. By definition, I'd say it's a great slow-burn pace.

The most notable flaw for The Rover is its plot contrivances. They're not glaring or annoying plot contrivances, but they were definitely noticeable. Quite a few times, I sarcastically thought, Oh, how convenient! I didn't give them much weight, though. It works well enough in pushing the story along without becoming annoying. Depending on your preference, the slow-pace may also be a flaw. Like I said, though, I loved it.

Guy Pearce delivers a magnificent performance; Pearce delivers some genuine emotion with delightful subtlety. Robert Pattinson is also superb with his supporting performance. I've said this a few times in conversation: Pattinson reminds me of a young Leonardo Di Caprio. Like Leo, Pattinson started as a pretty boy in a teen romance movie (Twilight), and, like Leo, Pattinson is evolving into a superb actor. (by the way, I'm not saying Twilight is on par with Titanic, they simply have similar audiences.) The film is shot beautifully. The cinematography captures the setting perfectly. The use of music is superb, blending seamlessly with the film. Writer and director David Michôd meticulously crafts a powerful drama and immersive world. Except for some plot contrivances, Michôd delivers a superb and haunting film.

Overall, The Rover is a fantastic film. The story is simple yet engaging and haunting, the cinematography and music are superb, and the entire cast delivers amazing performances. Some of the plot contrivances are notable, though, and the slow pace can be a bit too slow at times. It may not be a film for everyone, but it was definitely a film for me. Highly recommended for fans with an open-mind and a tolerance for a slow-pace.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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