Review: “The Rover” Features a Game-Changing Performance from Robert Pattinson

Griffin Conlogue ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in The Rover. Photo Credit: A24 Film.
Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in The Rover. Photo Credit: A24 Film.

The Rover is a dark and violent film, set 10 years after the collapse of the Western economic system. Kind of like a less glitzy Drive, the film’s soundtrack as well as its over the top violence and Western genre motifs make it a tantalizing film. At the center of the story is Guy Pearce’s character, Eric, who loses his last worldly possession and sets of on a mission to get it back. Along the way he meets Rey (Robert Pattinson), who’s brother Henry (Scoot McNairy) has left him behind to die. Henry is also responsible for the theft of Eric’s car, setting the odd couple of Pattinson and Pearce on a joint mission to track him down.

Surprisingly, it is Robert Pattinson who steals the show. An actor normally known for his good looks opposed to his acting ability, he gives a performance unrivaled by anything he has done before. His nuanced character work he displays as Rey is incredible to say the least. As a dimwitted Southerner living in Australia, Pattinson stands tall amongst all of the mesmerizing parts of the film. His most memorable scene in the film, featuring Rey somberly singing along to “Pretty Girl Rock” by Keri Hilson, is one that viewers of this film will remember as one of the highlights.

Robert Pattinson in The Rover. Photo Credit: A24 Film.
Robert Pattinson in The Rover. Photo Credit: A24 Film.

It’s time to move on from the Twilight jokes and actually appreciate what the young actor can bring to the table. There were glimpses of more in Water for Elephants and Cosmopolis, but Pattinson has really broken out in this film. He is back as an up-and-coming star to watch and everyone should look closely upon his next career moves. He needs to continue to make bold choices and to work with talented directors in order for everyone to forget his past as a sparkling vampire.

Though The Rover seems like a complex film from the start, it eventually divulges into a minimalist Mad Max, and stalls a little at its conclusion. The film is quite riveting and features some beautiful cinematography and compelling characters, but it is not without its faults. It will probably fail to be accessible to typical viewers, and those that do find themselves in the theater for the two-hour runtime will more than likely be put off by some of the film’s elements. It is also clearly an homage to road movies and post-apocalyptic films.

Guy Pearce in The Rover. Photo Credit: A24 Film.
Guy Pearce in The Rover. Photo Credit: A24 Film.

David Michôd made a bigger splash with his last film, Animal Kingdom, but this is an impressive work nonetheless. It’s the little moments, like Rey singing Keri Hilson or a car skidding down the road as Eric drinks in a run down almost empty bar, that really make the film. It’s funny, it’s tense, and it’s violent. The Rover is a fresh film from a fresh director who should be expected to continue his impressive, albeit small, resumé as a director.

Overall Grade: B

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