The Rover [2014] ★★½

the-rover-posterAussie writer-director David Michôd follows up his critically acclaimed “Animal Kingdom” with a post-apocalyptic road movie that feels a lot like a western film.That means mainstream movie-goers will smell art and run like hell. And who can blame them? From the looks of things, “The Rover” is fighting a losing battle. Not to director David Michôd, whose Aussie-based “Animal Kingdom” was a gem. In “The Rover”, Michôd goes to the core of the tale between good and evil in a world where economic cataclysm has reduced everything to a desert. Eric, played by the always watchable Guy Pearce, is looking for 3 criminals who stole his car after a robbery gone wrong. He will do anything to get that car back. Why? You’ll have to see for yourself. You’ll also see why Eric stops to pick up Rey (Robert Pattinson), the wounded, mentally challenged brother of one of the criminals. In terms of plot, I’ll say no more. But you should know straight away that this movie won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The pace is slow, and the writing is wildly uneven at times. But the two actors triumph, drawing us into their characters’ bruised hearts and minds. And there the film finds its unique identity. Overall, I don’t think it will have the impact of Michôd’s first feature, but it’s still worth watching, just to savor those great performances.

Rating: 2.5/4

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