DIRECTOR: David Michôd
CAST: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
THE COMMERCIALLY successful Twilight franchise might have thrust Robert Pattinson into the limelight as a heartthrob, but his subsequent movies speak volumes of his range as an actor.
Akin to Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, Pattinson has, going by his movies like Remember Me, Water for Elephants, Bel Ami and Maps to the Stars, displayed a proclivity for character-driven roles.
And that’s what I admire about him as an actor – he is fearless about failure when he believes in a character.
The austere Australian backdrop of The Rover mirrors the desolate plot, in which a sphinx-like Eric (Pearce) is merciless in his quest to retrieve his stolen car from a group of criminals. Along the way, he bumps into Rey (Pattinson), who is the brother of one of the robbers.
What starts off as a hostage situation between an emotionally-barren Eric and Rey, who is treated as a halfwit, slowly evolves into an unlikely friendship during their road trip.
Along the way they come across a myriad weird characters and encounter a few warped scenarios but remain steadfastly loyal to each other.
Unlike Life of Pi, which hurtled at an engaging pace in spite of its restricted setting of a boy on a boat with a tiger, The Rover is a protracted tale that isn’t quite justified by the ending.
While Eric’s seething rage is offset by smidgens of kindness when he takes an injured Rey to a doctor, we also see that hard- ness towards Rey soften.
The Rover isn’t the kind of western that follows an all-guns blazing template. It is a stark exploration of humanity in the face of despair.
Although David Michôd would have done himself a huge favour with tighter editing, his saving grace is his lead actors.
The method performances by Pearce and Pattinson are strangely fascinating. Pearce brings such intensity and ambiguity to his character. You never know when he is going to completely lose it, despite the unruffled demeanour.
Meanwhile, Pattinson plays his retarded character with such compelling finesse, especially with the heavily clumsy walk and slightly hunched posture. And he adds an unexpected buoyancy with his character’s trusting nature.
Again, while the plot is simple, the director indulges the audience with the dramatically forged bond between his protagonist thrust into a violent, untrusting and unforgiving world.
Of course, patience is crucial when watching this movie. Poor plot aside, it boasts two stellar performances.
If you liked The Road and Skyline you might enjoy this.