06th Jan2015

‘The Rover’ DVD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, Chan Kien, Tek Kong Lim, Tawanda Manyimo, David Field, Scott Perry, Ben Armer, Gillian Jones, Jamie Fallon | Written by David Michôd, Joel Edgerton | Directed by David Michôd

the-rover-cast

After a major global economic collapse, the Australian outback has become a lawless wasteland. The Rover follows one man’s journey as he traverses this dying landscape to recover his car which has been stolen. With the brother of one of the thieves held as hostage, he must avoid military patrols, bandits and other criminals if he is ever to see his vehicle again.

Ahh The Rover. It sounds like it could be such an interesting film. Reading that synopsis it conjures up images of a ‘Mad Max’ like tale, people fighting for survival, car chases, general chaos, maybe an explosion or two. No, that isn’t what you are going to get so crush that dream right now. This is the quiet end of the world. The world is lying down to die in the dust with a helpless shrug and a groan. Sure there are some gun fights in it, but they are spaced between long shots of people walking, standing, staring, sleeping and mumbling incoherently to each other. You will also hear the question “Have you seen my car?” more times than you ever thought possible.

To give The Rover credit where credit is due, the performances by Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson as the two main leads were pretty much flawless. They did an excellent job portraying their characters and the emotional turmoil that both of them go through in their own unique ways. They definitely hold the film up throughout (which is good because it is rarely more than them on screen) and the way their relationship changes across the story is interesting.

That said, it isn’t interesting enough. By half way through this film I was bored. To me it didn’t seem to have enough drive to keep it going. That’s ironic by the way, because a significant amount of the film is driving. Probably should have mentioned that first. Moving on. This film is very slow paced. I guess it reflects the slow decline of the economy of the world which led to the ‘collapse’ which is mentioned at the start, but that doesn’t make it any more interesting. The collapse is a constant theme throughout, never fully explained but provides a solid backdrop for the story of the film. I felt a little let down that I didn’t learn more about it and although it wasn’t too much of an issue, it might have hooked me more into the film.

I can see what the film is trying to do, the man who has ‘nothing left to lose’ as the film’s tag line states, desperately trying to hold onto the last thing he owns, as it represents his last shred of humanity. Well, maybe that is what it is trying to show. But slow pacing and a slightly confused story which doesn’t reveal enough just didn’t make it work for me. The Rover is a well made film, but it isn’t a gripping one.

The Rover is out now on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray from eOne.

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