Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Rover


It’s “Ten years after the collapse.” The nature of the collapse is never specified. It might be economic. Whatever it is, it hasn’t altered life in the Australian outback all that much. It’s still hot and dry and dusty and flat and just a totally miserable place to live. Traveling across South Australia on the train from Sydney to Perth, I wondered almost constantly, how do people live out here?

Before the movie starts there has been some sort of robbery that leaves three men bleeding out on the highway, and three men fleeing, one of them badly wounded. One of them has abandoned his brother, possibly thinking he was dead, but possibly not. The fleeing felons manage to get their truck stuck, and steal a car belonging to Guy Pearce (back in his native Australia after so many movies in the States that I had almost forgotten he is Aussie), as Eric, no last name. He sets out to get his car back.

The lesson to be learned here: Don’t fuck with Eric’s car.

Eric is clearly a man who does not give a shit whether he lives or dies. We don’t know just why this is so, but we eventually find out, and it was not what I had expected. Also, when we find out just why, in the very last shot of the movie he is so determined to get his car back (I mean, the pick-up he climbs in to chase the guys is clearly a better ride) it is also a surprise. Was it worth all the lives he took in the process? Not really, but as Eric would probably say, Who gives a fuck?

The main fault of the movie is that it moves very slowly, with quick bursts of violence. Shots lingering on the affectless face of a depressed man, or a stupid one (pretty boy Robert “Twilight” Pattinson, unrecognizable here with some very bad dental work) are not my favorite thing. Pattinson is the one they left for dead, and with a promise to lead Eric to his brother, he and Eric eventually form a pretty strange team.

I was expecting a sort of new take on Mad Max, but it could not be more different. It was worth watching, I’m glad I saw it, and I’ll probably forget it soon.