Aussie film director David Michod made a splash in the indie film world with Animal Kingdom in 2010. Now he's banking on Twilight's Robert Pattinson to take a bite out of the box office. While we're not sure Twihards will choose this film over 22 Jump Street, we think they'll be impressed by Pattinson's acting ability.
The movie opens with the words "10 years after the collapse." That's pretty much all the exposition we get in this purposefully spare and bleak drama. It's clear from all the actors' sad faces that this dirty, dusty world is full of doom.
Eric (Guy Pearce), a lonely, brooding marksman, stops at a Cambodian bar to get some liquid relief from the heat. While the Asian pop music blares, Eric's car is stolen by some desperate, loathsome criminals.
Of course, getting your car jacked sucks, whether it's before or after "the collapse." But Eric becomes downright diabolical in his quest to get his Peugeot back. He hooks up with Rey (Robert Pattinson) and discovers he's the wounded brother of Henry (Scoot McNairy), one of the men who stole his car. Eric's logic is that Rey will lead him to Henry and he can then retrieve his precious car.
Pattinson plays Rey as a chatty, dim-witted hick who's emotionally stunted. He has a childlike quality reminiscent of Lenny in Of Mice and Men. The filmmakers altered Pattinson's stunning good looks by giving him a set of broken yellow teeth.
Despite the disgusting choppers, Pattinson reveals a shocking vulnerability he's never before accessed on screen. He has solitary moments where his inner life shows the depth and sadness of a truly lost and troubled young man, which is no easy feat for the average teen-dream movie star.
We think Pattinson has a long film career ahead of him, and if the rumors about him playing Indiana Jones in a franchise reboot are true, we're open to giving him the chance. Hopefully, he'll bulk up a bit and get a tan if he decides to play the iconic archaeologist.
However, we already can't wait to see Pattinson in Queen of the Desert, out later this year. The film is written and directed by Werner Herzog and also stars Nicole Kidman.
The Rover opens today in limited release, then expands on June 20.
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