Meander Through the Outback with "The Rover"

I can’t think of a movie I’ve been more disappointed by recently than “The Rover.” There was so much good said about it and it really does look intriguing on the surface. Unfortunately, it’s the perfect example of the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” working against itself.

Australia is a financially crippled wasteland ten years after a worldwide economic collapse. After his car is stolen by a trio of criminals, a wandering nomad named Eric (Guy Pearce) comes across the wounded brother (Robert Pattinson) of one of the thieves. He tends to his wounds before telling the disoriented man he must lead him to his brother’s band of delinquents. Eric wants his car back and will stop at nothing to reclaim it from the thugs.

Let me tell you the good things about “The Rover” first. Robert Pattinson takes his role as a mentally challenged Australian redneck outlaw and runs with it. There isn’t a single hint of Edward Cullen to be seen in the dirty unkempt façade of his character in this film.

Cinematographer Natasha Braier delivers stunning camerawork for “The Rover.” She fully captures the depressing atmosphere of a world that has collapsed in on itself. Antony Partos accents Braier’s work with an unsettling musical score that adds another layer of menace to the film.

All the good still can’t save “The Rover” from being one of the most tedious viewing experiences I’ve experienced in a very long time. Shots go on way too long for one. One profile scene at the very beginning felt like it went on forever.

“The Rover” is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1) with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. The picture consistently maintains its color and clarity. The audio is low when it needs to be and raucous when the movie calls for the audience to be shaken out of its comfort zone.

Most consumers may find the lack of bonus material for “The Rover” Blu-ray release disappointing. It consists of one 44-minute featurette entitled “Something Elemental: Making ‘The Rover’” and includes interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage. Why they wouldn’t include trailers for the movie is beyond me.

“The Rover” is rated R for language and bloody violence. There’s no nudity or sexual situations to be found. Child prostitution is insinuated when Guy Pearce’s character visits an opium den while looking for his car, which might (and should) disturb some viewers.

The entire film feels like a boring road trip that will never end. I’m not saying that nothing happens along the way. However, it’s certainly not anything you’d want to send a postcard home about. Imagine “The Road Warrior” with all the cars chasing each other at ten miles per hour instead of at breakneck speeds. “The Rover” just ends up feeling lethargic and overlong.

"The Rover" is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

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