Guy Pierce is one of those actors I wish I saw in more productions. He’s never particularly overpowering, but seems to do a great job in whatever role he’s put in. This time, it’s a post-apocalyptic Western with Robert Pattinson as a partner, and that sentence along is enough to generate a fair amount of interest in what would be possible from such a product.
The Rover is an Australian produced film, and is post-apocalyptic only in a very technical sense. Set ten years after “The Collapse;” the total breakdown of political and economic stability the world over, the setting is an excuse to have a Western with modern technology, and I can get behind that all the way. Australia has always had the capacity for great westerns based on its landscapes and environments, and those are shown off to majestic effect in this picture.
The plot features Pattinson as Rey, a young man violently ejected from a roving gang, at which point his former gang steals a car belonging to Eric (Pierce), a violent former Australian soldier. Eric nearly forces Rey to join up with him to hunt down the former gang, and the best part of the film is the interaction between Pierce and Pattinson, one violent, unstable and worn out, and the other younger and unsure of himself. Pierce is definitely the better actor when placed alongside Pattinson, but Robert is at least trying very hard, one feels, and that is worth some acknowledgement.
Other than that, the film delivers on nearly all its promises of its genre, with hefty violence, social breakdown, lawlessness, the search for vengeance, and many other fine elements of the Western. For a moderately lower budget piece, The Rover accomplishes a lot, and felt like it tried to get the most out of all it could. And it should be respected for that reason alone.