REVIEW: The Rover

25 06 2014

The RoverUnlike many “apocalyptic” movies of our era, David Michod’s “The Rover” does not weigh itself down in giving the audience details of the calamity that befell civilization.  We get a few vague hints along the way, sure, but Michod lets us know all we need to know the characters populating the frame.  An opening close-up of Guy Pearce’s Eric, sitting motionless with anguish while flies land sporadically on his face, tells us far more than fake stock footage ever could.

For once, it’s the characters, not the catastrophe, that drive the action.  Without highly specific circumstances explaining their actions, “The Rover” assumes the feel of a tone poem.  It mulls over the trials of the human spirit amidst a desolate landscape as well as the need for connection in isolating times with its sweltering cinematography and pared-down screenplay.

Michod’s script, co-written with Joel Edgerton, follows Eric as he hunts down his stolen car in the unwelcoming Australian desert.  We don’t know why he wants the car back until the very end of “The Rover,” and a part of me almost wishes his motivation wasn’t realed.  Since Eric doesn’t seem to place any extreme importance on the vehicle, the quest takes on an existential dimension that yields far more insights into Eric’s character.

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