The Rover (2014)

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Released 15-Oct-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Featurette-Making Of-Something Elemental: Making The Rover (42:58)
Featurette-Sydney Film Festival Q&A: Inside The Rover (18:26)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 98:24
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Michôd
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Guy Pearce
Robert Pattinson
Susan Prior
Scoot McNairy
Case ?
RPI ? Music Antony Partos
Sam Petty


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Australia, ten years after an unspecified event called the “collapse” stopped civilization in its tracks. A bearded and dishevelled Eric (Guy Pearce) stops in a remote desert town for a drink. A gang led by Henry (Scoot McNairy) is fleeing a shot-out which has left one man dead and Henry’s brother Rey (Robert Pattinson) bleeding and more dead than alive on the road. The gang crash their car and steal Eric’s. Eric attempts to follow, but is left unconscious. In a chain of coincidences, Eric finds the injured Rey and persuades Rey to tell him where Henry is going. Together Eric and Rey set out on a road trip across the desert to find Henry; they are initially antagonistic but the danger from others in this lawless and violent land gradually bring them closer together until the final bloody confrontation with Henry and the rest of the gang.

     The Rover is writer / director David Michod’s follows up his acclaimed debut Animal Kingdom. It is very different to that film: a post-apocalyptic road movie / odyssey with an episodic structure as two men on a journey interact, mostly bloodily and violently, with people they meet on their way including a storekeeper, a female doctor, desert dwellers or what passes as lawkeepers in this barren and dusty environment. There is very little dialogue and very little is explained; we know nothing about the “collapse” or the background of the characters, and indeed when we find out a little more about Eric’s backstory during the course of the film it feels false and unnecessary. The landscapes of the Flinders Rangers are beautiful and add to the film’s atmosphere of desolation and menace, but this film is essentially a two hander and its success or otherwise depends upon the characters created by Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, and their relationship with each other.

     At the centre of the film is Pearce’s Eric. He is a still, silent man and the camera often lingers on Pearce’s static and brooding face. Eric is a man who has seen it all and has nothing to lose which makes his breakdown into tears at the end very moving and memorable. Pattinson’s Rey is the opposite: a man who may have the mental capacity of a child and is full of mannerisms, twitches and ticks. Pattinson here sheds his Twilight good looks and heartthrob image to show that he is certainly a capable actor in a role that requires him to be confused, bloody and dirty for most of the film’s running time.

     The Rover has a number of things going for it including the beautiful landscape and the acting. But to me the film’s structure was too disjointed and episodic to be compelling and the journey of the two disparate characters towards each other and the climax not well enough drawn; Eric is too one note for most of the film and Rey’s change too sudden, for which I would blame deficiencies in the script, rather than the acting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Rover is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a print in which the colours have been mostly washed out to reflect the hot, dusty desert conditions and the colour palate is predominately brown and grey. Close up detail on Guy Pearce’a bearded and gnarly face is excellent but wider landscapes are less sharp. Blacks and shadow detail are very good, brightness and contrast consistent and skin tones fine.

     Other than some slight ghosting against vertical lines (such as at 58:58) artefacts and marks are absent, even in sequences with flickering fire light against a black background which often creates issues.

    English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a largish white font.

     The layer chance was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps. An English descriptive audio is also available, spoken by a female voice (Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps).

     This is quite a front centred audio track, with most dialogue and effects at the front, such as car doors, engines and gunshots. Dialogue, especially with the accent adopted by Pattinson, was often difficult to understand, when the subtitles came in useful. The film featured lots of silences and the rears mostly used for the score and occasional effects. The sub-woofer sparingly supported the music and occasional car effects.

     The original score by Antony Partos was atonal and minimalist, adding to the feeling of alienation and dislocation. Sam Petty provided additional music while diverse other music was added including traditional Cambodian music and AsiaPop tunes.

     Lip synchronisation fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Something Elemental: Making The Rover (42:58)

     An extensive and interesting making of featuring lots of on-set footage plus interviews with writer / director David Michod, producers David Linde, Liz Watts, DP Natasha Braier, production designer Jo Ford and a range of the cast including Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Susan Prior. Things covered include the genesis of the script, casting, characters, the look of the film, the landscape, extras and filming in the Flinders Rangers.

Sydney Film Festival Q&A: Inside The Rover (18:26)

     Margaret Pomeranz sits on stage with director David Michod, producer Liz Watts and cast members Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson after a screening of the film at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival and asks questions about the filming of The Rover. Humorous and interesting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US version of The Rover comes with the same “Something Elemental” extra but misses out on the Sydney Film Festival Q&A. A win for Region 4.

Summary

     Writer / director David Michod follows up his acclaimed debut Animal Kingdom with this bleak post- apocalypse road trip. The Rover has the wonderful landscapes of the Flinders Rangers in South Australia and some good acting going for it but the film’s structure was too disjointed and episodic to be compelling and the climax underwhelming.

     The video and audio are fine, the extras worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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