The Rover

Sad Max

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - DVD & Blu-Ray -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tor: David Michôd Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pat­tin­son, Scoot McNairy, Gil­lian Jones

Be­lieve ev­ery­thing

you see on the big screen and you’d be for­given for think­ing there’s never been a more wretched hive of scum and vil­lainy than the Aus­tralian out­back.

True to the des­o­late desert’s on- screen le­gacy, the Oz of The Rover seems like an ex­traor­di­nar­ily un­pleas­ant place to live. Ten years af­ter a cat­a­strophic fi­nan­cial col­lapse, it’s a na­tion with­out hope. US dol­lars and the busi­ness end of a dusty ri­fle are the only ac­cepted forms of cur­rency. No one looks like they’ve even heard of soap, let alone used it.

En­ter Eric ( Guy Pearce), a man whose life is lo­cated at the bot­tom of a bot­tle, and then gets worse. Af­ter stop­ping at a dingy wa­ter­ing hole Eric’s car is stolen – prompt­ing a pedes­trian, but blood- filled, pur­suit across the bar­ren land­scape. Along the way Eric picks up Robert Pat­tin­son’s Rey, the left- for- dead younger brother of Scoot McNairy’s car thief, lead­ing the two to strike up an un­con­ven­tional part­ner­ship.

It’s a min­i­mal­ist tale more con­cerned with minu­tiae and at­mos­phere than sweep­ing plot de­vel­op­ments. Tonally and in terms of ac­tion it’s much closer to The Road than the cos­tumed the­atrics of the Mad Max films. Guy Pearce is de­pend­ably great as the brood­ing spirit of vengeance driven to get his car back at any cost, while Pat­tin­son im­presses as Rey, the tricky drawl and mess of man­ner­isms a life­time away from sparkly vamp Ed­ward Cullen.

It’s beau­ti­fully staged and shot by David Michôd, who cap­tures bleak tragedy in ev­ery frame. But for all the tal­ent on both sides of the cam­era, the film has noth­ing to say. It’s a sim­ple tale of re­venge stretched to break­ing point that fails to en­gage for large swathes as a re­sult. It only just feels like it’s in SFX ter­ri­tory too, the world so thinly sketched you won­der why they even both­ered with the five- min­utes- in- the- fu­ture set- up. A missed op­por­tu­nity.

A direc­tor’s com­men­tary and a dull 45- minute Mak­ing Of. Jor­dan Far­ley

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