The Rover (PG) ***


RoverEND of the world films have come and gone over the years.Interest is still had by views of a future Earth after a catastrophic event. Bound to create a stir are the high octane performances found in The Rover. Fresh to these shores courtesy of EOne Entertainment is this offering from Down Under now drawing interest at the International Village Cinemas in Vancouver.

Fans of Mad Max, Mel Gibson’s breakthrough movie, prior to him becoming persona non grata in the minds of many, comes this tale of struggle. Set 10 years after some mysterious meltdown in Australia we bear witness to a victim or two, some abandonment and a fight to survive. Man of the moment Eric suffers from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cut from the same Man with No Name cloth as Clint Eastwood’s iconic western cigar chomping cowboy is Guy Pearce (Memento). Few words come from this man’s mouth but wrong him and suffer the consequences.

When a group of hooligans decide to do Eric harm it sets off a chain of events and a chase across the Australian outback that’s gut churning. Pearce is terrific as the brooding “victim” who relentlessly pursues this gang in a memorable journey. Full of restrained and muted violence skeletons in the family also figure prominently in this 102 minute revenge saga.

Far away from his Twilight heyday is Robert Pattinson who costars as Rey, a troubled young boy with links to the criminal element. A great dusty atmosphere well capturing the loneliness of the times populated by some equally demented lost souls helps give The Rover gravitas.

Directed by David Michod who brought us the spine-tingling Animal Kingdom this new version of troubled minds in the underbelly of Australian society is almost as disturbing and quite compelling despite a few slow patches.

By Robert Waldman