Following in the rather large Australian, dystopian footsteps of Mad Max comes the end-of-the-world action-drama film The Rover. Directed by David Michod it manages to cast Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson in his continued efforts to distance himself from Hollywood franchise cinema and everybody’s favourite ex-Neighbour-turned-Hollywood star Guy Pearce.
Set a decade after ˜the collapse,’ a generic term that means the end of the modern world as we know it, The Rover follows a silent loner Eric (Pearce) whose car is stolen by outlaws, forcing him to follow because without a car you might as well be dead. On his cross-country, high-adrenaline road trip he sees the markers that suggest that society has fallen apart, and picks up a brother of one of the trio called Rey (Pattinson) who was injured and left for dead.
To say that Michod follows his debut Animal Kingdom with some style would be an understatement. The visceral barbarism on display follows the same well-troden path that always suggests that with the loss of technology, society will inexorable decline into petty crime and violence. It’s well handled and the central performances from Pearce and Pattinson are fantastic, with one a miserly, grizzled cynic and the other imbued with child-like wonder and a flat refusal to believe his brother would betray him. However wouldn’t it be nice if a film that presented the post-apocalypse world where humans aren’t reduced to clambering around in the dirt, fighting and raping each other for the last Curly Wurly. Then again perhaps there isn’t much drama in a film about a world where people get on?
The Australian film industry has in fairness always dealt with violence in a rather gritty and down-to-earth fashion. In fact it’s tough to think of a film from their industry that isn’t always covered in spit, blood and other bodily fluids and The Rover plays to type in that regard.
It’s a constantly intriguing narrative that switches from chase scene, to fight scene via blackly comedic and is at all times unendingly filthy. But the point that will stay with you after the film finishes is that there is no point. Like all the great miserable philosophers have reasoned, there isn’t really a point to anything unless we assign one. In this repsect The Rover could be anything from Mad Max to Driller Killer.