Set in the Australian Outback, The Rover takes place in a world full of crime and lawlessness ten years after an economic collapse. A nameless loner (Guy Pearce) sets off on an obsessive chase to track down the men who stole his car. While on the hunt, he comes across Rey (Robert Pattinson), one of the thief’s brothers, who he forces to help him with his pursuit.
Director David Michôd’s follow-up to the well-received crime thriller Animal Kingdom is remarkable in how it can make you equally hate and love it.
As a cinema-going experience, The Rover is an incredibly boring film that tests your patience to sit through all 103 minutes of it. There is little dialogue, little plot, and extremely slow pacing.
Yet the film has a few unexpected, likeable moments that make it worthwhile. In a film full of violence and depressing characters, comic relief is provided in the strangest ways. In one shot, Pearce’s character and Rey wait for a train to pass by. Were this scene in any other film, the train would pass by in a matter of seconds and the scene would move on. But in The Rover, this train is inordinately long, and you can’t help but laugh at how much time is spent watching it go by.
In the most memorable scene of the film, Rey sings along to Keri Hilson’s pop hit “Pretty Girl Rock”. If that sounds strange, it’s because it is. The song clashes with everything about this film, but it’s because this scene is so bizarre that makes it so great to watch.
At the heart of it all is the relationship between Pearce’s character and Rey. Even though Rey is in essence Pearce’s hostage, the two form an unlikely bond, and their relationship provides some much needed humanity in their heartless environment.
It’s hard not to keep thinking about The Rover after you see it – how boring, bizarre, and entertaining it is all at the same time.
Whilst you may not be able to sit through a second viewing, the first is well worth your time.