'The Rover', South Australian-filmed thriller, premieres at Cannes Film Festival to praise

By / 19th of May, 2014
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DIRECTOR-Writer David Michôd premiered his moody second feature The Rover at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival over the weekend, garnering praise for the movie’s tense atmosphere and desolate beauty.

Filmed in both at the South Australian Film Corporation’s studios and a variety of locations around the state, including the Flinders Ranges, Leigh Creek and more, the landscape is as much of a character in Michôd’s post-apocalyptic film as the people who inhabit it.

The film, Michôd's first since critically-acclaimed Animal Kingdom, stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson and will be released in Australia on the 12 June, followed by a US release on 20 June.

Jessica Kiang at Indiewire

“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.”

Scott Foundas at Variety

“The promise of Australian director David Michod’s 2010 debut feature, “Animal Kingdom,” is amply realized in “The Rover,” a post-apocalyptic road movie of sorts set a decade after some unspecified cataclysm has turned the world — or at least one far-off corner of it — into a mercenary no-man’s-land.

“Tipping its hat to George Miller’s “Mad Max” trilogy while striking a more somber, introspective tone, Michod’s sophomore feature isn’t exactly something we’ve never seen before, but it has a desolate beauty all its own, and a career-redefining performance by Robert Pattinson that reveals untold depths of sensitivity and feeling in the erstwhile “Twilight” star.”

Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter

“At least as responsible for giving The Rover its distinctive tone as the unnerving violence, edgy performances, parched settings and Natasha Braier’s superior cinematography (film, not digital, was the mode of choice) is the extraordinary soundtrack, which, in its wild, idiosyncratic weirdness, is probably the most effectively eccentric and radical film score since Jonny Greenwood’s for There Will Be Blood.”

Kenneth Turan at the Los Angeles Times

“Unaccountably slotted for the midnight section of the festival rather than the main competition, "The Rover" is a most impressive piece of filmmaking, tense and unrelenting, that chills the blood as well as the soul.

“Pearce's barely controlled ferocity as Eric is exceptional, but it is not as much of a revelation as Pattinson's unrecognizable work as Rey, a damaged, unfocused individual who is the older man's half-unwilling accomplice.”

Peter Howell at The Star

“Comparisons with Mel Gibson’s Mad Max and Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry films are obvious in Michod’s stark and striking presentation, but what resonates most is the loneliness these men are striving to overcome.

“The film brings to mind John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, with Pearce and Pattinson conjuring that tale’s George and Lennie, with all the complicated male bonding that implies.”

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