Australian director David Michod has been on our radar since he wrote and directed the Sundance-winning, Oscar-nominated crime drama, Animal Kingdom (2010). In 2014, Michod returns with The Rover - and we can’t wait.
The story was conceived between Michod and fellow Aussie film-maker (and heart-throb) Nash Edgerton, while on the set of Animal Kingdom.
The Rover is set in a near future dystopia, where Guy Pearce's loner Eric tracks down the violent gang who has stolen his car- his last worldly possession.
The plot immediately recalls Australian classic Mad Max (to be re-booted imminently with Tom Hardy unseating Mel Gibson from his motorbike) though Michod is quick to distinguish his latest project. He has stated, "with all due respect to that film — and I stress that — I think 'The Rover' is going to be way more chillingly authentic and menacing."
The newly released teaser trailer certainly sets the scene, as an establishing shot hovers on a twitching bird of prey. Rather than hiding the hovels of serial killers, here the outback is opened up- a sand-swept waste-ground, where frontier society scavenges and wars with itself.
The desert surrounds The Rover's central relationship, which partners Pearce with Robert Pattinson, who plays an injured and abandoned rookie gang member. Michod describes Pattinson's character as "quite troubled and damaged, but a beautiful and naive soul". The director anticipates skeptics, claiming that once the actor auditioned, there was no other choice. There is a reality to Pattinson playing a kind of ingenue to Pearce's bold, determined protagonist, as an actor clearly in the midst of re-establishing his career. Like Animal Kingdom, the world of The Rover is one of battling men, and it will be interesting to see Pattinson assert himself as an actor outside the cozy confines of romantic projection.
By the same testosterone fuelled token, we’ll be eager to see how the film is received, and whether our one qualm might be shared - that the opportunity for a substantial female presence may have been overlooked. Pattinson has described the project being about "how much pain can the world take...how much disgust and cruelty before love dies." Interesting themes, and ones that, to our mind, are not gender-specific. The film's unwavering masculinity is suggestive, if not of an inability, then perhaps a lack of imagination to use female characters to further dramatize this existential drama. Michod managed this to some extent with Weaver's character in Animal Kingdom, and here there is a character listed as 'Grandma' that holds limited promise.
Nevertheless, the buzz around The Rover looks set to confirm Michod's place as a talented presence in creating grown-up, atmospheric drama that could stand with the likes of the Coen brothers' dark morality thriller No Country For Old Men .
'The Rover' is set for an international release in early summer 2014, and is one that Culture Whisper recommends is not to be missed.
|What||The Rover, Summer 2014|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
21 May 14 – 31 Oct 14, 12:00 AM