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Friday, July 3, 2015

THE ROVER (2014)

Solemnly slow and pretentious, David Michôd’s post-apocalypse road pic is a revenge Western with cars instead of horses, much like one of those critically-favored, audience-starved New Age Westerns Monte Hellman toiled over nearly fifty years ago. Now, it’s tough, taciturn Guy Pearce in relentless pursuit of a trio of car thieves, tracking them down thru depopulated towns & desert landscapes. He ‘meets cute’ (okay, ‘meets nihilistic’) with Robert Pattinson, who’s been shot and left for dead, before continuing his Homeric journey with this new partner; together a regular George & Lenny out of OF MICE AND MEN/’39; ‘92. Yep, Pattinson plays a mentally challenged character, and he sure makes a meal of it, as if he were still auditioning for the part. Worse, Michôd cheats by letting Pattinson's I.Q. rise & fall as needed to get to the next plot point. It's all handsomely wrought in a minimalist way, and Pearce is a marvelous actor even playing a paper-thin cliché. But this existential yawn of a yarn feels all used up before it ever gets going.

WATCH THIS,NOT THAT: Serious or ‘Pop,’ Bela Tarr’s THE TURIN HORSE/’11 makes most of these recent post-apocalypse/end-of-days pics look like kiddie fare.

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