Anyone who has seen David Michod’s Animal Kingdom knows what a talented filmmaker he is, and those who haven’t seen it can discover that now with the release of his writing and directing effort, The Rover.
The film stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson as two characters that are supremely explosive all on their own in this post-End of Days world. But, it is when they come together that the entire barren landscape of the Australian Outback becomes even more searing than the sun beating down on the desolate ground.
All Michod tells us as his movie begins (from a story by Michod and Joel Edgerton!) is that it has been a decade since “the collapse.” And judging by the surroundings, Pearce’s Eric is living in a world where anarchy rules supreme, while an Australian military tries its best to maintain some semblance of order.
Eric stops in for a drink at the most eerie of “bars.” Meanwhile, a car full of thugs is racing towards his locale when they crash. Desperate to keep moving, they rush across the street and steal Eric’s car. That was not a wise move.
Pattinson’s Rey is stumbling around after being shot during whatever it was that those guys in the speeding car did. Eric knows he is his ticket to getting his car back. You get the sense that there is something in that car that he is willing to die for to retrieve. Eric swings into action in pursuit and that is the tip of the iceberg of the tension that oozes through the film’s next two hours.
Pearce and Pattinson are a dynamic duo. We already know that Pearce is capable of greatness, something you can see when you watch L.A. Confidential online or any number of his films. And this is a part, a narrative and physical landscape that fits him like a glove.
The surprise here is Pattinson. He plays an American and nails the accent. He also is a bit slow, and his moments of lack of clarity could have been played formulaic. Instead, it is a revelation of talent from the man who is desperately trying to have audiences take him seriously as something more than Edward Cullen. And he achieves that with this riveter. That is even seen in The Rover trailer.
But, it is Pearce and Pattinson working together that is so compelling in The Rover. They make their way through the most unforgiving of landscapes and it truly shows that two thespians in tandem, with a fantastic script loading their weapons of talent, can produce a jaw-dropping cinematic experience that breathes life into a world that is all but lifeless.
Our The Rover review finds that Michod has now joined that short group of directors for us where the mere mention that their name is attached to something shoots that project to the top of our must-see list.
The way Michod plots his drama, weaves in societal questions as to what drives us and how we would respond to a world drowning in utter desperation, is nothing short of brilliant.