Film review – The Rover (2014) starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson

From post apocalyptic America in Mr. Burns on stage, to post apocalyptic Australia in the second film by Australian director David Michod, whose first film Animal Kingdom was very well received. If there’s a lesson to learn from The Rover, it could be – never steal someone else’s car, as it is this very action that is the catalyst for the rest of the story. However, that is probably an unfairly simplistic way to look at the film as a whole.

Set in the Australian outback ten years after what is referred to as “the collapse,” the film’s plot is driven (pun intended) by Eric, played by Guy Pearce and his determination to track down the men who have stolen his car. Along the way his path crosses with Rey, who is badly injured from a gunshot wound, but as one of the thieves’ brother, is in the unique position of guiding Eric to their location. Rey is also looking for payback for being left to die by his brother.

Guy Pearce as Eric

Guy Pearce as Eric

What begins as a form of captor/hostage relationship soon becomes something much more complex. Eric and Rey are certainly not friends, but they come to rely on each other, to a certain extent, as they make the journey through the desolate landscape. The film is shot in a very specific style – presenting this vast land in a way that highlights its beauty and its emptiness at once. Its grey and barren vistas perfectly enhance the desperate lives of those depicted in the story.

I did find the story rather miserable ad it is certainly not an easy film to watch. Parts of it feel quite slow, with little dialogue, which can begin to feel quite tiring. It’s also rather violent in places, although the unexpected moments of violence are very effective at jolting the audience. An example being Eric’s encounter with a travelling circus, who no longer travel. However, despite this film not really appealing to me and my personal tastes, the acting of its two leads is undeniably excellent. Guy Pearce is superb as Eric – a man of few words, whose life was clearly already desperate before the collapse and who is simply existing now rather than living. His face sometimes expresses so much without a word being uttered. He is certainly not a particularly likeable character, but he is made more human through his interaction with Rey.

Robert Pattinson as Rey

Robert Pattinson as Rey

Robert Pattinson, in a role polar opposite to the one he is inevitably most famous for, is very very good as Rey and it is him who the audience care about, if you can really like any of them at all. It’s clear Rey has always been dominated by his brother Henry, his opinion never sought or valued. Initially he refuses to accept that his brother would leave him for dead, but soon cannot fail to accept the truth and although an unlikely pair, he develops a bond with Eric.

Eric demands he talk for himself, something he has clearly rarely (if ever) done and through their journey together we see Rey grow in confidence as he begins to prove he isn’t as hopeless as Eric (or his brother) have thought. Pattinson’s performance as Rey, where every word is spoken with either a stutter, nervous twitch or mumble, with body language to perfectly complement it, is impressive. He plays Rey  as someone who seems quite child-like and innocent even after he has killed. As an audience member, I knew I shouldn’t really like him, but I did slowly start to warm to him and that is in large part due to Pattinson’s performance.


David Michod’s world is also certainly believable. This isn’t a Mad Max-style futuristic apocalypse world, but a barren, crumbling place, where people are simply existing. There is still a reliance on money (US Dollars ironically) and I could believe that such a place could become a reality (although I wouldn’t want to experience it)! The mood of the film is enhanced by its score by composer Antony Partos. There may be little dialogue at times but his industrial, unsettling music fills the void and seems to match the tone of the film perfectly.

Robert Pattinson & Guy Pearce at the BFI screening last week

Robert Pattinson & Guy Pearce at the BFI screening last week


Both actors at the Q&A afterwards praised Michod, as a film maker who takes risks and lets the actors do the same. I can see how that must be appealing. It’s certainly an odd film, so I’m not entirely sure the risk paid off, as by the end I did wonder what the point of it all was. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the central performances held my attention throughout and are impressive enough for me to give this film an average score (maybe a 3/5). I’ll be interested to see what people think once it’s released.

The Rover is released in the UK on 14th August 2014. See the trailer here: The Rover trailer


Tags: , , , , ,

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Robert Pattinson Worldwide - March 3, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Si te consideras amante del chocolate, estás en blog adecuado.

Thoughts In Intervals

Tarryn Richardson

Telly Addict

I have been watching

Loitering In the Theatre

My experiences, good and bad, in London theatres.

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Mingled Yarns

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book

Cultural Capital

Theatre, arts and events in London


Theatre, Books, Food & Film/TV reviews

746 Books

Confessions of a Book Buying Addict

The Book Review Directory

Over 150 Book Reviewer Bloggers Listed

The Day - a Play

Theatre, Films, TV, Art

Cleopatra Loves Books

One reader's view

The X-Files Truth Podcast

"The following podcast is based on actual X-Files cases." Email:


Walking my way around the west end one show at a time

Semi-Partisan Politics

A semi-biased commentary on British and American politics, culture and current affairs


Movie and TV Reviews

Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

Life, Faith and Comic Books

%d bloggers like this: