The Rover (Blu-ray Review)

the rover whysoblu coverIf you have ever watched The Road Warrior and felt that film could use a lot more existential angst, well you are in luck, as writer/director David Michod has followed up his critically acclaimed crime drama Animal Kingdom with this slightly futuristic Australian western.  Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson star in this cerebral thriller that attempts to balance style with a nihilistic take on a collapsed world of the future.  It may or may not have been successful, but now the film is available on Blu-ray for all to check out.  Continue on to read more about this film and its Blu-ray package.


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The Rover is stripped down and composed of very few expository details, but the thing to know is that the film takes place in a world set 10 years from now, where a catastrophic economic collapse has left things in a state of disarray.  There is very little left in the way of societal order, but that still allows for various forms of currency exchange and basic rules to dictate the actions of people.  However, some people are just bad guys.  We are not too sure about Guy Pearce’s character, a loner that is dangerous and hell-bent on finding his stolen car, but he is the man we follow through this world.  He is forced to team up with Robert Pattinson’s character, a naïve young man, initially found with a gunshot in his belly and an idea of where the stolen car may be.

There really is not a whole lot more to the story than that, but even while it may seem simple, Michod’s handle on this film as a whole is pretty terrific.  It is strange, as I only have so much good to say about the film overall, but it is one of the more well-assembled films I have seen where I was still left pretty cold by it by the end.  I say this because The Rover is very bleak.  No matter how strong the performances are, no matter how interesting the depiction of the Australian outback is; the film is fairly nasty and leaves me wondering what was really accomplished.

I can understand the arguments that support the film.  As I have stated, The Rover is visually interesting and assembled in a manner that suggests Michod is in complete control of this film.  Based on Animal Kingdom (which I loved), Michod has a definite style for his films.  He goes for a deliberate pace and utilizes silence as much as he can, despite having fine compositions, as far as the scores for these films go.  This is a film that does not flinch and, while violent, finds a real sense of beauty in the sunbaked world that these characters exist in.

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I am also plenty happy to praise the two lead performances.  Guy Pearce is consistently great in things and it is no surprise that he acts as committed as ever in a role suggesting he is unhinged and barely keeping in his rage, considering how the age of his character suggests he has seen some rough things in this life.  Robert Pattinson is also quite good.  I am not as surprised as some may be, as I have only seen him be pretty solid in these weirder, independent films, and have only so much familiarity with his roles as the vampire boy.  In this film, Pattinson has the ‘showier’ role, but while that may allow for too much busy work in terms of how much he has to sell the role, it is the moments of interaction with Pearce in the form of conversation that really pay off.  It may be somewhat strained, but this is a film about a relationship between two guys with almost nothing in their lives, which is inherently interesting, considering how this relationship grows.

I only wish I responded more to this film overall.  The ideas are there and I understand how to see this film as a comment on characters being pushed to and over certain limitations, let alone an examination of what happens when all is basically lost, but it is still a sort of desolate, rambling story that offers little to latch onto.  One could argue for the nature of salvation and how that plays into this film, but I really did not care.  I have certainly enjoyed or at least been intrigued enough to give higher praise to bleak films in the past (The Road comes to mind), but The Rover has not left me with the same sort of feeling.  It is uncompromising, sure, but overall left me with nothing beyond some its visual aesthetic and the key performances.


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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Shot on film and in the Australian Outback, it is great to see a film like this presented in widescreen, as it deserves to have the sense of scope captured.  Helping is the wonderful Blu-ray transfer that really brings out the details to be found in a film stripped of too much story, but a wealth of technical challenges, as far as the filmmaking is concerned.

Depth:  Beautiful levels of depth to be found, given the film format and use of imagery to show the barren wasteland that are the various parts of Australia depicted in this film.

Black Levels: Using mostly natural lighting leads to some minor muddy elements in the darker scenes, but for the most part, we get some nice, deep black levels throughout.

Color Reproduction:  Colors come off strong enough when employed.  Not a lot to focus on, but they seem accurate when put on display.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look natural and consistent.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing of note.



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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: This is a simplistic film for a lot of reasons and a lot of that comes from characters not saying a lot and not a lot of score use being employed.  That said, the audio track for this film is quite effective, whether due to the action taking place, the sound effects, the moments of score or dialogue and various other aspects that add to the experience overall.

Low Frequency Extension: You get a few scenes that play around with the LFE channel effectively, given the revving engines and gunplay.

Surround Sound Presentation: Well-balanced track overall, as the nature of the film allows for a lot of specific sort of sounds occurring in various spots.  This makes for an interesting array of sounds to take place throughout and come from the various channels of a home theater system.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and clear.



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I almost want to go all the way to three, due to the quality of the making-of documentary, but that is still the only worthwhile thing on this disc in the extras department.

Features Include:

  • Something Elemental: Making The Rover (HD, 44:48) – A great look at the production of this film, featuring interviews with the cast and crew and more great imagery from the locations.  Well worth checking out.
  • Trailers
  • UltraViolet copy of the film


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I feel like there is a chance for this film to grow on me over time.  As it stands, having seen it twice, I can only praise certain aspects, despite still giving the film a mild recommendation.  That in mind, I look forward to more of David Michod’s films.  As far as the Blu-ray is concerned, this is a nice package that could use more in the extras department, but at least has one great main feature.  The Rover may be worth a look, just know it will be a bleak one.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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