10 years after a global economic collapse, the Australian outback is a lawless wasteland, crime and poverty is common and small military units patrol the outback attempting to maintain what little law and order is left. After a robbery gone wrong, Archie (David Field), Caleb (Tawanda Manyimo) and Henry (Scoot McNairy) flee, leaving behind Henry’s injured brother Rey (Robert Pattinson). While driving away, Archie mocks Rey and Henry attacks him, causing Caleb to crash. When they cannot maneuver the vehicle out of debris, Archie steals the car belonging to mysterious loner Eric (Guy Pearce). Eric manages to start the getaway vehicle and follows them. After a brief chase, Archie stops and Eric confronts them. When Eric tries to attack Archie, Henry knocks him unconscious with a shotgun. Eric wakes up and drives his new car into town, where he wanders into several establishments, asking if they have seen the men. He goes to an opium den, where he finds a dwarf and two Chinese acrobats from a traveling circus in the backroom. Eric follows the dwarf to his trailer, where he offers Eric a gun for US$300. Eric doesn’t have $300, so he abruptly shoots the dwarf in the head and leaves. After another confrontation with the opium den’s owner, he walks back to his truck and finds Rey, who asks why he is in Henry’s car. Eric asks Rey where Henry is, but Rey faints. Eric then takes Rey along as his unwilling accomplice on his route to revenge…

Following the success of his debut film Animal Kingdom, David Michôd started working on his next screenplay, based on a story he conceived with Joel Edgerton. The story is set in the near future, in Australia a decade after the collapse of the western economy where people from all over the world come to work in the mines. The setting and plot of the film will draw comparisons with Mad Max. Clarifying those comparisons, Michôd said that, “You put cars in the desert in Australia and people are going to think of Mad Max, and with all due respect to that film – and I stress that – I think The Rover is going to be way more chillingly authentic and menacing.” Talking about the characters in the film, Michôd said, “There is a strong sort of Asian flavour in the film, but I wanted it to feel like people have come from everywhere, from all corners of the world. Rey is a southern American who has travelled with his older brother Henry to work in the Australian mines. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times stated that “The Rover” is a most impressive piece of filmmaking, tense and unrelenting, that chills the blood as well as the soul” and about performances said that “Pearce’s barely controlled ferocity as Eric is exceptional, but it is not as much of a revelation as Pattinson’s unrecognizable work as Rey, a damaged, unfocused individual who is the older man’s half-unwilling accomplice”. As said it´s not possible to not think of “Mad Max” in some scenes, but that´s ok, however I don´t agree with David Michôd that “The Rover” is more authentic and menacing. But, yes it does feel authentic in its desolate bleakness where you only see hints of the apocalypse. I love the idea that Eric carries marks of a classic cold-hearted Western anti-hero who refuses to die before exacting vengeance for an unpardonable crime. “The Rover” is a bleak and nihilistic post-apocalyptic story with also similarities to “The Road”, and you are not really sure which way the story will go. Guy Pearce´s Eric truly radiates of anger, frustration and revenge in a society where humanity has lost its meaning. While Robert Pattinson´s Rey is equally lost, but in a more fragile state. “The Rover” is ugly, bloody and strong, but yet it doesn´t fully convince in the end. (3 out of 5)

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