The Rover Blu-ray Review
With THE ROVER, director (and co-writer) David Michôd (ANIMAL KINGDOM) brings a dystopian near-future Australia where the world is literally falling apart at its seams. It’s a different take on the genre and one that would appeal to a lot more viewers if it were not so contemplative, so sullen. But here we do not have a futuristic world with crazy gadgets and incredible advances. Instead Michôd and writing partner Joel Edgerton (yes, the incredible actor) have created a future where mankind has fallen, technology be damned.
I have always enjoyed movies like this, though THE ROVER is a more stolid (for some) look at dystopia than others using the same backdrop. There must just be something about Australia that makes it prime storytelling ground for end-of-the-world topics. It worked in the original MAD MAX films and it certainly works in THE ROVER, albeit for entirely different reasons. There’s just something very visceral and real about the outback…
In fact, the two (MAD MAX and THE ROVER) couldn’t be further from each other tonally despite their synthetic underpinnings. Where MAD MAX is brash and over the top, THE ROVER is understated almost to a fault. THE ROVER is a deliberation on the state of humanity; a slow, ruinous look at what we could become if the world suddenly fell apart and society, civil discourse, the very products of the 19th and 20th centuries suddenly disappeared. And it happens to star a grizzly, incredible Guy Pearce in his first decent role in years (yes, I enjoyed IRON MAN 3, but Aldrich Killiion was a bit too much for me).
THE ROVER is the story of a man driven to his end. In the opening moments of the movie we are introduced to the world with a simple statement; “10 years after the collapse”. We are then treated to a minimalist treatise on the state of humankind in this new world. A group of criminals are in a car accident after a botched robbery (one of my favorite scenes in the film) that leads them to take the nearest available car… the car belonging to Eric (Guy Pearce). This move sets into motion what looks like it’s going to be the most tense two hours you’ve ever seen… except the movie almost loses the audience several times thanks to the slow pace.
To find the gang who took his last possession, Eric takes the truck they left and by luck finds the brother they left for dead, Rey (Robert Pattinson in an almost unintelligible role). Rey is badly wounded so Eric has no choice but to bring him along for the ride. And all the way along we we’re treated to what humanity has become, the wretched underbelly of a world without. It’s actually an incredible and compelling character piece but the pace is so slow as to completely pull us out. All in all, THE ROVER is an incredible film with terrible pacing. The world is beautifully depressing but as a character piece you just have to see Guy Pearce. His quiet fury makes the film absolutely worth it.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The HD presentation of THE ROVER is absolutely beautiful in its bleak presentation.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound on THE ROVER is minimal but effective. It immerses you into the experience.
Something Elemental: Making THE ROVER (44:48) This exhaustive documentary feature discusses THE ROVER in depth, from the inception of the film to shooting, to the actors takes on their roles and working with Michôd. This is an impressive feature and well worth your time.
THE ROVER Blu-ray also features trailers for other Lionsgate pictures and a Digital HD UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.