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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The Rover

September 23rd, 2014

The Rover - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

The Rover opened in limited release and opened really well, but the next weekend, its per theater average collapsed as it tried to expand and it barely crossed $1 million before leaving theaters. Is this a sign that the film only has appeal to a very limited audience? Or did the distributor try and expand the film way too soon and way too fast?

The Movie

The film begins with an intertitle explaining that ten years before the movie began, there was an economic crash and apparently people moved to Australia because of their abundance of vast deserts and wide variety of animals that can kill you. We meet Eric as he pulls up to a bar, I think it's a bar. There's someone there and he pours himself a drink. Meanwhile, we witness the aftermath of a robbery gone wrong. Caleb is at the wheel and they are speeding away, but Henry, who is shot, wants them to turn around to grab his brother, Rey, whom they left behind. Archie, the fourth member of the gang, insists that they leave Rey behind and makes fun of Rey, which causes Henry to attack Archie, which in turn causes Caleb to lose control of the car and crash. It crashes and rolls right past the bar Eric was in.

When Caleb can't get the car out of the debris, Archie decides to steal a nearby car, which just happens to be Eric's car. Eric sees this, and with a little more patience than Archie possessed, he's able to get their car free and goes after them. When it becomes clear he won't go away, Archie stops the car and he and Henry get into a confrontation that ends with Eric being knocked out. We then switch to Rey, who wasn't a goner like Archie and Caleb said he was. He wakes up and steals a soldier's Hummer and heads on down the road where Henry and the rest of the cast are.

We are not even 20 minutes into the movie, but I think we are starting to enter spoiler territory. It's hard to tell, because there's so little plot that I don't know what not to reveal. Is a violent outburst a spoiler? The basic premise is a man gets his car stolen and tries to get it back in a post-apocalypse Australian wasteland. The reviews are mostly positive, but I found the movie very dull. Not a lot happens in the film and worse still, I was never once given a reason to care about any of the characters. Sometimes, filmmakers seem to think that the person in front of the camera the most will automatically hold the audience's attention, because there's no one else to do so. At least I think that's the logic behind this. However, in my opinion, if the lead character isn't engaging, I'm not drawn to him more just because none of the supporting characters are interesting either. Instead, I think about all of the things I could be doing instead of watching the movie. I'm assuming if the audience feels the same way I do, then a lot of them who are not being paid to watch the movie will turn it off if they don't find any of the characters compelling. I know, the movie is likely trying to tell a story about the bleakness and pointlessness of these character's existence in the post-apocalyptic world. But the problem with trying to do that is it often times results in a bleak and pointless film. On the other hand, both Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson are very good in the movie, but for me it wasn't enough to save the movie.

The Extras

The only extra on the DVD is a making of featurette, but it is 45 minutes long, which is more than some movies have in total extras. I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but it costs $20, which is $3 or 18% more than the DVD.

The Verdict

The Rover has two great performances, but not nearly enough of the rest of the film held my attention to recommend the final result. The only extra on the DVD or Blu-ray is a 45-minute long making of featurette, which is enough to be worth picking up, if you liked the movie.

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Filed under: Video Review, The Rover, David Field, Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy, Tawanda Manyimo