In Australia, the end of the world used to be fun. Dudes with pink mohawks rode around on motorcycles, Tina Turner dressed up sexy and sang the theme song, and there was characters with names like The Lord Humongous, Toe-Cutter, and Master Blaster. These days Guy Pearce just drives around the Australian outback frantically looking for his stolen car, which must have really tied the room together. Robert Pattinson goes full retard as the sidekick, and you can rest assured that the Bechdel Test will not even come close to being passed.
Directed by David Michôd, The Rover takes the post-apocalypse genre and sucks the fun right out. It’s all desert scenery, awkward silences, and characters with no name. No one mocks a puny plan or unleashes their dogs of war. There are no zombies, no secret underground cities, no talking apes or sarcastic telepathic dogs. They do manage to rack up a decent body count, and Guy Pearce is not bad as a Man With No Name, but the whole movie is just too independent and cryptic to be enjoyable.
The post-apocalypse genre really belongs to the world of low-budget exploitation. Independent Film must go back to coming-of-age movies about French teenagers and Scottish junkie comedies. Take your hands off our end-of-civilization movies and let us have some good campy fun. When there’s a film about a societal collapse, I don’t want an essay on the nature of morality or some kind of climate change allegory. I want chase scenes, memorable catch-phrases, and a besieged and heavily-armed group of people bickering amongst themselves. And it wouldn’t hurt to throw in some women dressed in animal skins or futuristic space-suits too.
Overall Score: 42
Letter Grade: C-