I thought I’d put them all together in one post and update as I come across “Best of” lists:
“20. “The Rover”
If one takes “The Rover” on its own methodical, minimalist terms — an existentialist fable that burrows deep into the moralism of its corrupted, barren landscape — it’s hard to deny that writer/director David Michod’s sophomore effort wholly accomplishes what it sets out to do. Stripping away all narrative complexity to the point of abstraction, the character study really breathes, but in such a completely different way to Michod’s triumphant last feature “Animal Kingdom,” that after just two features and a few shorts, Michod has us convinced he’s the real deal. Featuring a stunningly grizzled, grimy lead performance by Guy Pearce, easily one of our favorite working actors, and an impressive turn from Robert Pattinson who is growing as a performer with every film, it’s a movie that pulsates beneath the surface and in the long silences between dialogue and outbursts of violence. And it’s starkly beautiful to look at and to listen to, eschewing revelations and plot twists to deliver its deceptively simple story through mood, tone and atmosphere.”
Indiewire had it’s End of Year Critics Poll and Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson were included for their performances in The Rover. I’ve included the critics box so you can see how they voted.
Guy Pearce – no. 45 out of 50 for Best Lead Actor
Robert Pattinson no. 14 out of 50 for Best Male Supporting Actor
“6. Guy Pearce – “The Rover”
With apologies to Robert Pattinson (and his legion of fans) who is very, very good in this movie and continues to reinvent himself in each new role, Guy Pearce owns “The Rover.” David Michôd’s post-economic collapse dystopian picture is very, very angry and mortally disillusioned, and Pearce embodies these qualities like a blackened-heart furnace on the verge of eruption. The harsh, silent and severe nature of Pearce’s character (who’s in search of a car that embodies all that he no longer has) is also a canvas that echoes back to us; we can imagine the family he’s lost and the life that once had meaning. But his humanity is also occasionally glimpsed and it’s utterly heartbreaking when it briefly peeks through. Like a ratty, emaciated, lonely dog let loose in a ravaged outback, Pearce relentlessly forces his way back home, to the one thing left his is life that has consequence and buries it for good. Pearce’s character is already resigned to all forms of death, you cannot do him any worse, and the affect that he transmits mostly through pained expression is devastating.”
JK has The Rover at no. 16:
“16) THE ROVER
Only saw this last week and just WOW – best Australian movie for the year. RPatz deserves an Oscar nomination for supporting actor, but alas, the academy will not even consider it.”
Andrew Brusentsev has it as no. 20. You can read his review from the red carpet Sydney premiere by clicking on the hyperlink.”
Taste of Cinema (thanks to JK for the heads up on this one)
No. 17 out of top 23
“Few films this year have been as dark and despairing as The Rover. Taking place ten years after the collapse of all society, The Rover is a tale of survival and the violent trepidation of enduring life in a desolate and violently lawless world. Anguish, death, and the loss of human morals are forces to be reckoned with at every corner, presenting an indistinguishable line between desperation and immorality.
Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson’s performances are heart-wrenchingly astounding as they struggle to keep the values of a once-esteemed society, such as honor and integrity in a world that has become all too bleak and inhumane. The Rover is both melancholic and unnervingly intense, making it a gripping yet contemplative experience.”
“Great indie revenge stories: I suppose it says something about me that Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin and David Michod’s The Rover – two of the most physically and psychologically brutal movies of the year — were in my personal top 10. But that’s for me and my therapist to talk through.”
“The woman cinematographer: Reed Morano shot The Skeleton Twins and Autumn Blood. Rachel Morrison shot Cake and Little Accidents. Tami Reiker filmed Beyond the Lights. And two of the most acclaimed female DPs of all time, Mandy Walker and Natasha Braier, should get some Oscar attention for Tracks and The Rover, respectively. The odds are against them receiving a nomination, but going up against highs odds is nothing new for a woman trying to make it as a cinematographer.”
“Underrated: If overrated is a dubious, questionable term —and it is, see the intro of this piece— than underrated feels a little less problematic. After all, you are ostensibly shedding light on deserving films that need more attention, and there was really no shortage of those types of movies in 2014, especially when compared to “Guardians Of The Galaxy” or some major blockbuster. But it’s all relative … “The Rover” was my mid-year underrated pick and I think I’ll just stick with that one, but again all the other films mentioned deserved much more love too.”
“Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce take a disturbing road trip in a dystopic Australia, in The Rover.”
“10. “The Rover“
I must confess that I had been looking forward to this one since it was first announced and before I knew a damn thing about the film. David Michod’s chilling “Animal Kingdom” remains one of the most startling and assured directorial debuts of the last decade, and my favorite from the current crop of gloriously pessimistic Aussie cinema that includes the films of John Hillcoat, Andrew Dominik’s “Chopper,” and Justin Kurzel’s “The Snowtown Murders.” And yet my already-colossal expectations were not just met, but exceeded by “The Rover,” Michod’s spare, brutal look at savagery and survival in a world abandoned and left to rot by the very people who once inhabited it. The film unfolds in the midst of a worldwide catastrophe called “The Collapse,” the causes of which Michod wisely declines to explain. Some have criticized the film’s leisurely pace and minimal plot, but when the mood and menace is this thick and gorgeous, it would be churlish to complain. Guy Pearce—who, in his whole career, has never been this feral or terrifying, even when he beat Shia LaBoeuf to within an inch of his life in “Lawless”—plays Eric, a frazzled shell of a man whose single-minded pursuit of his missing automobile forms the crux of the film’s slow-burning narrative. As his traveling companion, Robert Pattinson is nothing less than a revelation. The actor has often relied on his striking good looks and air of affectless-ness in the recent films of David Cronenberg, where affectless-ness is a consistent stylistic choice. As Rey, the stammering, sweet-hearted simpleton whose wardrobe looks to be on loan from a 90’s rap-rock band, Pattinson reveals newfound dimensions to his screen persona. He is daft, childlike, full of wonderment and fear. He and Pearce acclimate themselves effortlessly to Michod’s hellish milieu, which strips its “Mad Max” futurescape of all action-movie chicanery and unnecessary exposition and reduces it to the bare essentials. Some have called the film “dystopian,” although that seems unfair and not quite accurate—perhaps this collective misjudgment is to blame for the film’s performance at the box office. But any film that manages to successfully utilize Keri Hilson’s joyously insipid “Pretty Girl Rock” in its most emotionally charged moment has to be something pretty special.”
“50. The Rover (David Michôd)
A cold-blooded, powerful and moral thriller staring Guy Pearce and (a virtually unrecognizable) Robert Pattinson as men traversing an apocalyptic landscape in rural Australia. A bleak and compelling nightmare lensed by Natasha Braier, The Rover is a chillingly sparse picture, cementing David Michôd as a new master. – John F.”
Radio Times (Scan)
“But let’s survey the best of 2014, and imagine what all this might tell us about ourselves when we look back ten years from now. A pink box of sugary confections from Mendl’s Bakery to the following:
6. “Blue Ruin” and “The Rover.” … “Rover” is a grim Aussie film, mildly post-apocalyptic, in which Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson make an uneasy duo. Director David Michod strips everything down so that all details matter — including the payoff of the last 60 seconds.
“I’ll be frank – this film hasn’t stood the test of time in the six months since it opened the Sydney Film Festival. David Michôd’s second feature burned up a lot of the hype and goodwill that followed his frighteningly accomplished debut Animal Kingdom. By contrast, The Rover is a slight movie – an overextended version of the short films that members of the Blue-Tongue Films collective have excelled at in the past.
But The Rover mesmerised me, and Guy Pearce’s performance killed me. Michôd gets bleakness. I watched this in Los Angeles, where the dead midday pollution and endless highways made the film seem more realistic than apocalyptic. It rang true, and enthralled me for all its hundred and three minutes. And that’s why I go to the cinema.
It helped me understand Animal Kingdom better, too – in The Rover’s wake, Michôd’s debut showed itself as a stealthily dystopian film about the tragic realities of present-day, pre-collapse late capitalism.”
Thanks to @SaltyPopcornau for the heads up.
After all the attention
Andrew David Michod’s debut feature Animal Kingdom rightly received, we logically assumed that The Rover would have appeared with a bit more fanfare. But while reviews were largely positive, Michod’s post-apocalyptic thriller sneaked out on a limited release in US cinemas. Guy Pearce stars as Eric, a seething, violently amoral man on the hunt for his car, which was stolen by a criminal gang. Along the way, Eric forms an uneasy partnership with the gentle, easily-led Rey (Robert Pattinson), a gang member injured and left behind during their escape.
What follows is a minimalistic, moody and occasionally brutal film. The Rover’s Australian setting and dusty roads have drawn inevitable comparisons to Mad Max, but Michod’s film has its own stark and meditative atmosphere, with some superb, contrasting performances from Pearce and Pattinson. The Rover also sees Pearce engaged in a confrontation with a group of a disgruntled circus performers, which isn’t something we were expecting to see in a bleak, post-societal collapse road movie.
No less a figure than Quentin Tarantino praised The Rover as “a mesmerising, visionary achievement.” And who are we to argue?”
No. 3 The Rover (starts at 8.08 with Rob) “Let’s hope it finds the cult following it deserves”