Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Rover (2014)

Director: David Michod
Writers:  David Michod, Joel Edgerton
Cast:       Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy

10 years after what is described in the opening line as a collapse, a hardened loner pursues the men who stole his car, his only possession. Along the way, he captures one of the thieves'  brother, and the duo form an uneasy bond during the journey. It can be described as a dystopian road film. It is not made clear whether the collapse is internal to Australia or the whole world. US currency is the only one that is accepted by many of the sellers and one can surmise that it maybe restricted to Australia.

I don't know whether it is a case of my bias towards Economics and global trade showing, I saw many allusions to Australia's dependence on China during its so called resource boom. It is possible that if China were to crash, Australian economy could also face traumatic times though one would think being a developed economy/ democracy they would have planned well for the eventuality. Eric (Guy Pearce) is a farmer and he confesses  to an army officer, during an exposition scene, that he killed his wife and her lover ten years ago and nobody cared about that. He says he was more saddened by the reaction of the collapsing society in and around him than his wife's cheating. The tagline for the film which describes his character is 'Fear the man with nothing left to lose'. The thieves are related to the mining business which is part of Australia's more recent history. The latter has led to Australian dollar appreciating in value in recent times and thereby affecting Australia's other exports like farming output. One could guess that there is this underlying conflict between the farmer and the miner is also playing out in the film with the latter being related to crony capitalism. The thieves cannot understand why Eric is risking everything to get his car back and we are given the reason at the end when we see him burying his dead dog that was in the trunk. Rey (Robert Pattinson) is an half-wit and he is kind of an in the middle character who is contrasted with both Eric and the thieves. As he says during one of the conversations, 'Not everything has to be about something', which is also a nod to the audience regarding the film itself.

I haven't seen any of the shiite twilight films and therefore my view on Robert Pattinson's credentials as an actor is not biased by them. I have seen him only in 'Cosmopolis' and now in 'The Rover' and he was excellent in both. Guy Pearce, whom we never see enough in films these days, is also great in this bearded brooding role.

David Michod got worldwide acclaim after his debut Australian family mob film 'Animal Kingdom'. It was a good film but I found it to be a tad overrated. 'The Rover' was much anticipated and upon release many have expressed disappointment with it. I thought it was great and is the better film out of the two. The Australian outback settings, cinematography, soundtrack and the performances are great and David Michod is another promising young director to keep an eye out for.

Rating: 4/5