*** out of ****
Set in the Australian outback 10 years after a global economic collapse, a trio of thieves steal a car belonging to disheveled loner Eric (Guy Pearce). The situation becomes complicated because Eric really wants his car back. He even teams up with the dim-witted brother (Robert Pattinson) of one of the thieves to retrieve it. The reason Eric wants his car back is not revealed until the final scene, and it is shattering.
The Rover is directed and co-written by David Michôd, who helmed the masterful Animal Kingdom (2010). Both films share effective and shocking spurts of violence. When bloodshed happens in The Rover it is abrupt and unsettling and it certainly doesn't come off as cool and fun. What I took away from the film was a comment on the disturbing casualness of violence in the world. It also ponders loneliness and the need and importance for companionship.
This movie again proves that the Twilight films are a black hole of dreadfulness, disallowing any performance in that series to be good. Twilight-alum Pattinson is very good here as an easily manipulated simpleton. He has many scenes with Pearce, and they play off each other well.
The Rover is fascinating food for thought, yet consistently downbeat, so don't expect the end credits to be accompanied by Cyndi Lauper's "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" song.