May 17th, 2014 / 11 Comments



So the press screening has been held in Cannes. There’s also been some earlier press screenings that may have had an embargo until today. I’m going to be fair and post excerpts from the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll be updating this so keep coming back.


Pearce is fiercely impressive here as a man who gave up on the human race even before the latest round of calamities, and if there are occasional glimpses of the kinder, gentler man he might once have been, we are more frequently privy to his savage survival instincts. But it’s Pattinson who turns out to be the film’s greatest surprise, sporting a convincing Southern accent and bringing an understated dignity to a role that might easily have been milked for cheap sentimental effects. With his slurry drawl and wide-eyed, lap-dog stare, Rey initially suggests a latter-day Lennie Small, but he isn’t so much developmentally disabled as socially regressed — an overprotected mama’s boy suddenly cast to the wolves — and Pattinson never forces or overdoes anything, building up an empathy for the character that’s entirely earned. He becomes an oasis of humanity in this stark, forsaken land.

The Hollywood Reporter

Pattinson delivers a performance that, despite the character’s own limitations, becomes more interesting as the film moves along, suggesting that the young actor might indeed be capable of offbeat character work. But always commanding attention at the film’s center is Pearce, who, under a taciturn demeanor, gives Eric all the cold-hearted remorselessness of a classic Western or film noir anti-hero who refuses to die before exacting vengeance for an unpardonable crime.


The Guardian:

“… ; hopes couldn’t have been higher for this followup movie. But expectations have to be managed downwards, a little. The Rover is an undoubtedly atmospheric and brutal drama set in an apocalyptic future after a “collapse” … It has something of a surlier, meaner Mad Max, a flavour of Australian New Wave pictures like Wake in Fright, and even something of Spielberg’s Duel. After a terrific start, the film begins to meander, to lose its way, and its grip. …

Michôd developed the script with actor Joel Edgerton who may well have expected to get one of the lead roles — perhaps the one that has gone to Robert Pattinson, whose character Rey is from the American South, with some slightly Rada-ish hillbilly acting. … using Pattinson’s wounded brother to help him in this quest … Michôd creates a good deal of ambient menace in The Rover; Pearce has a simmering presence. But I felt there was a bit of muddle, and the clean lines of conflict and tension had been blurred: the dystopian future setting doesn’t add much and hasn’t been very rigorously imagined. I even had the suspicion that the screenplay should perhaps have gone through one or two more drafts, or perhaps returned to an earlier draft, when casting was clearer. Well, Michôd certainly delivers some brain-frazzling heat and directionless despair.”


But overall this is a disappointing film that loses dramatic momentum after an arrestingly grim first act. The presence of Robert Pattinson, in an uncharacteristically non-heroic and even awkward guise, alongside a magnetic Guy Pearce, will give the film some solid box-appeal, but The Rover is at best a consolidation rather than a real advance for Michôd.

But the film’s weak link is Pattinson, not because it’s a bad performance, rather it is a familiar one, a mumbling hick who seems to be channeling the mannerisms of Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade, but who doesn’t quite belong in this imaginative universe (despite exposition of how people from the entire world, including the US, have ended up in this Australia).



“Michod’s camera slowly pushes in Pattinson as he sits in their parked vehicle, singing falsetto to Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock” on the radio”

That’s all I need to know from this review, but I’ll be fair and post that they didn’t like it.

“The dirty, broken world at the center of David Michod’s “The Rover,” the Australian director’s post-apocalyptic follow-up to his grisly 2010 crime drama “Animal Kingdom,” is a familiar one. The dusty, empty landscape and cruel, humorless personalities populating its small ensemble immediately call to mind “Mad Max,” while the prevalent sense of despair suggests that pages have been borrowed from Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Unfortunately, despite Michod’s capable ability to emulate these dreary worlds and formidable performances from “Animal Kingdom” star Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in his first substantial role post-“Twilight,” the movie barely amounts to more than an exercise in homage.  …

Michod’s commitment to unsympathetic storytelling and hardened characters allowed “Animal Kingdom” to maintain palpable dread at every moment. In “The Rover,” the empty tension dissipates with time. Like the earlier movie, it culminates in an abrupt exchange of gunfire, but the meager payoff after such a blandly prolonged buildup can’t compete. As one of the characters sighs that “not everything has to be about something,” but “The Rover” never manages to manages to fully justify that excuse. “

Little White Lies

The story pacing and cinematography is sublimely assured. As Eric and Rey make their way across the deathly plains of some misc Aussie dustbowl towards the film’s delightful pay-off, Michôd makes it feel like there is all the time in the world. He has a talent for the self-contained set piece.


” “The Rover” which admittedly plays right into our wheelhouse, is a fascinating movie, flawed but occasionally brilliant, and it’s also not at all the film we were expecting. Bleak, brutal and unrelentingly nihilist, and with only sporadic flashes of the blackest, most mordant humor to lighten the load, it feels parched, like the story has simply boiled away in the desert heat and all that’s left are its desiccated bones. In a good way.

… while Pattinson, who we were initially worried might be too tic-laden to fully convince, actually turns in a performance that manages to be more affecting than affected. It’s certainly the best we’ve seen him deliver, despite the rather standard-issue-halfwit yokel accent and the actor commits to it wholly. The contrast between these men, Pattinson as twitchy as Pearce is impassive is marked and its in the space between the two, punctuated by bursts of gunfire, that the film really lives.

… it arguably fulfills another important function: it shows Michod work with other genres and textures, and still make a film that is unmistakably his, and that is how auteurs are made. [B+]”


“The tense, gritty film, which pits Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson against each other at times — and makes them begrudging allies at others — won’t be for everyone, but it promises something powerful for those who can stomach its dismal worldview and brutal violence. It also may give Pattinson his best shot yet at proving his post-Twilight staying power.  …

Pattinson puts in a formidable and truly transformative performance all his own. Rey is an unattractive character in an unattractive world, with rotten teeth, a bad haircut, and an off-putting, twitchy demeanor, but there’s no sense that Pattinson did any of this in a superficial effort to ugly himself up and distance himself from his heartthrob image. If anything, the role should stand as proof to any doubters that with the right director and the freedom to break free of his own public persona, Pattinson has real ability and magnetism on screen.”

First Showing

While the film and its experience is fresh in my mind, the more I begin to think about it and process it even as I begin writing about it, the more I realize how much Michôd has hidden in the silence, in the quietness and dialogue-free moments. In turn, this makes every last word spoken that much more important. Pearce, similar to Ryan Gosling in Drive, carefully chooses every word, every twitch, every muscle in his body to deliver a performance that speaks volumes while actually saying very little. Even Robert Pattinson, giving one of his best fidgety, aloof performances to date, has so much more to say between every word he speaks.

Michôd is one of those rare filmmakers that has a style that subverts the typical notions of straightforward cinema, and challenges audiences to look deeper, to search between the performances and the dialogue, to find a more meaningful depth beneath the surface. It touches upon the actual reality of humanity, and how much depth there is in each and every person. The idea that, even though we may not exactly say everything we want to, that we do want to convey so much, and our actions often speak louder than words. Michôd has tapped into this with an original, gritty, and challenging post-apocalyptic drama. I must see it again, to get even more out of it, to find more in it, as I know there’s much more to it that I haven’t even discovered yet.


Robert Pattinson’s Rey seems like he’s barely able to function as a person. He mumbles, he seems like a bit of a dummy, and while he seems capable of violence, he feels like a scared kid who’s constantly terrified of everyone else, unsure why people do what they do, unable to communicate on those rare occasions that the synapses all actually do fire. He’s very good in the role, and while I’m not crazy about the film as a whole, if Pattinson keeps making choices like this and his ongoing collaboration with David Cronenberg, there may actually be a future for him where people are genuinely shocked to learn that he starred in the “Twilight” movies.


Several members of the press have advanced the notion that The Rover finally proves Pattinson’s acting chops, though I think he already acquitted himself admirably two years ago when he starred in David Cronenberg’s Cannes premiere Cosmopolis. What they really mean is that The Rover lets Pattinson be butch for once, waving around a gun and caking his face with blood and dirt in a bid to prove his manliness in the wake of Twilight.

It’s ironic, then, that the best-liked part of The Rover comes when Pattinson — and the movie — gets a little lighter in the loafers. Sitting alone in his car before a major gun battle, Pattinson listens to the radio and sings along. The song is Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock,” and Pattinson’s dumb-dumb launches into an unexpectedly sweet falsetto, certain that no one is watching. “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful,” he croons. “Now do the pretty girl rock.” Pattinson knows what it’s like to be hated for his franchise-leading beauty, and the solutions are clear: He can either brush that dirt off his shoulder, or, as in The Rover, smear it all over his face.

Empire Online

As anyone who’s seen Animal Kingdom will know, the squeamish need not apply: there are shocks, but not in a gimmicky way. This is about communicating the horrors of a desperate, barren world – something we’ve seen before, of course, but Michôd gives it his own spin. Characters are well-drawn, despite long swathes without dialogue – Pearce is as strong as he’s ever been and Pattinson shows more range than many might expect.


There is a huge amount of talent on display in “The Rover”, and the opening ten minutes is as captivating as anything you’re likely to see at the movies this year. In it, Michôd presents pieces of his narrative puzzle in a series of near-surrealist vignettes that we’re excited to see come together.

Movie Pilot

The director does hark back to some of his stronger points though with counterpointed pop music interspersed in a rousing, almost adventurous avant garde score. Most impressively of all, the director draws a remarkably against-type performance from his Twilight star. Pattinson pulls off nervous twitching, shoddy posture and general writhing to great effect; his character’s a classic fool and he plays it so.  Who knew he had it in him.  [WE DID]

Next Projection

Though thematically similar to Mad Max, another Australian dystopian roadmovie, The Rover is an interesting take on a future dystopia with compelling performances by Pearce and Pattinson, with the latter succeeding in getting rid of his Twilight-image. [Score 7.2/10 Good]

Toronto Star

Pattinson’s Rey has an accent that sounds more Arkansas than Aussie, no reason given, but delivers a seriously good performance that will help move him past his vampire trifles. He’s well-paired with the reliable Pearce, who has played desperate men before, but never one of such contained fury.


Pearce is the center of the film and a forceful presence as usual, but Pattinson puts in a formidable and truly transformative performance all his own. Rey is an unattractive character in an unattractive world, with rotten teeth, a bad haircut, and an off-putting, twitchy demeanor, but there’s no sense that Pattinson did any of this in a superficial effort to ugly himself up and distance himself from his heartthrob image. If anything, the role should stand as proof to any doubters that with the right director and the freedom to break free of his own public persona, Pattinson has real ability and magnetism on screen. You can judge for yourself when The Rover hits theaters in the U.S. beginning on June 13.

Repeating the feat was always bound to be difficult but 41-year-old Michod’s follow-up – a road movie from hell – is enthralling, unrelenting and superbly acted by leads Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson.  …  Pearce, conveying as much with his gaze than anything else, is captivating throughout as his past and motives are slowly revealed right up until the final frame. Former teen heartthrob and Twilight star Pattinson delivers potentially his best performance yet, convincing as the twitchy Rey and evoking empathy in his tortured struggle between family loyalty and resentment at being left for dead.

Next Projection

Though thematically similar to Mad Max, another Australian dystopian roadmovie, The Rover is an interesting take on a future dystopia with compelling performances by Pearce and Pattinson, with the latter succeeding in getting rid of his Twilight-image.

Metro UK

Up against Pearce, Pattinson steps up his game and acquits himself admirably. He plays tic-laden Rey from the American South, complete with hillbilly accent, with wide-eyed, dim-witted naivety.

As Pattinson continues to do his utmost to shy away from his heartthrob status, it’s a huge departure from anything he’s done before and he gives it his all in the best performance of his career so far.

Hey U Guys

Like most films set in the future, Michod’s The Rover is a damning indictment of our society and a warning of the price we might pay for our behaviour. Yet there is nothing here we haven’t seen before. It has much in common with films such as The Road, but adds little to it. Guy Pearce excels in a difficult role and Robert Pattinson is believable and entertaining as his partner on this oft-beaten track through a dystopia of our making.


The Rover is a slow burn Western, a film with brief explosions of violence that are interspersed along a dry, dusty narrative landscape.

The Rover eventually picks up Rey in order to help him track those he’s following. Played by Robert Pattinson, this is a performance that much like the film is certain to divide audiences. It’s a bit broad, to be sure, but I actually found the role quite engaging, exactly the kind of offkilter roles that the likes of Joaquin Phoenix is (sometimes undeservedly) applauded for early in his career.

I like the direction Pattinson is heading as an actor, choosing interesting roles over more genre fare. Like Ryan Gosling, it’ll be interesting to see how long his superfans from Tween entertainment juggernauts will ride with him on his journey before moving onto the next obsession. For now, there are those that would never delve into a film like The Rover that will do so because of his star power, and that just might make fans of him in a very different mode.

The films grinds out its story line in an almost reluctant way, providing glimpses of motivation as the violence increases. I’m not sure there’s much to be said from a deeply philosophic bent, but its cadence and inexorability does feel a bit like a cantankerous country tune, one that may be familiar but still knows how to pull the strings lyrically and is played by some fine, seasoned performers.

It’s the steadiness of The Rover that is its most defining feature, a sense that you’re perambulating towards an inevitable showdown and just along for the ride. It’s a dessicated place to visit, but the world that Michôd and his collaborators craft is nonetheless a compelling one, if sure to be challenging for those wanting a bit more pace and a bit more plot.



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There is something very straightforward about the way Michod lays out his plot, which is pretty much the least important part of the film to him. He seems far more interested in the unspoken, the chemistry between Pearce and Pattinson, and the way violence is used in place of conversation in a land where everything is this desperate, where nothing is easy.
  • Michelle
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    Am grinning from ear to ear right now. Thanks so much for putting these together Maria, cannot wait to see more as they come in 😀

  • Cindy
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    Aussie Aussie Aussie Dave Guy Rob fan freakin tastic

  • Vertigo
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    Loving these reactions so far!

    Thanks so much Maria, am really buzzing from most of it … just imagine what it’s going to be like to actually experience the Rover. OMG.

  • Ephie
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!! I’m twirling, I’m dancing, I’m singing, I think I’m delirious. Most of the reviews are amazingly positive. Rob must be over the moon. You did Rob! You made them eat their words. Yessss. And of course now I can’t wait to see the movie.

  • Sue
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    POP POP POP…… let the champagne flow! Congrats to all involved. Thanks Maria. *can’t wait to meet you, Rey*

  • Trish
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    Trying to keep a firm hold of all the good things said, but I can’t help feeling the arrows and barbs from the nay-sayers. Goddamn it hurts to hear criticism – for David, for Guy, but especially for Rob. Why do I feel like storming their offices/cubicles and opening fire on them? Being an artist sucks, sometimes. You have to leave yourself wide-open to everything – the good and the bad. The good can only shield so much – it’s the ‘slings and arrows’ that stay embedded in your soul for all eternity. Maria, thank you for collating all of these early reviews. They are interesting to read, and only serve to highlight the varying tastes of the individuals reviewing the exact same movie.

  • Sue
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    Oh. And “sings falseto to Keri Hilson’s Pretty Girl Rock” didn’t go unnoticed, either. I may just die in my seat on the 7th June …….

  • Roberta
    Posted on May 17, 2014

    I’m sooo proud I cannot tell. Thx!

  • Jules
    Posted on May 18, 2014

    Wow!! Just wow!!!! So freaking happy right now. Delighted for ALL involved in this film but yeah, couldn’t be happier for Rob. The majority of comments have been fantastic….I’m ignoring negative reviews….each to their own. I know what I WANT to see and it’s the Cannes Conquering The Rover \o/ 😉

    Thanks for pulling all these together girls, amazing!!

  • silvie
    Posted on May 18, 2014

    So loving this. Thank you for the up dates. 😀

  • lise-lou
    Posted on May 18, 2014

    So freaking excited. So happy for Rob and David and Guy as well. Just brilliant! Can’t wait for our turn squuuueeeeeeeeee!

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