The Rover: The Truth is Never Sexy-Part-2

3 Jul

One of the most difficult challenges for artwork is; to be effective many times it needs to change our expectations of the reality around us. Sometimes art even needs to change our expectations of previous art. This can be a very difficult job. And let’s face it sometimes the audience does not make these goals easy. Audiences sometimes come to theaters expecting one experience when they need to be open to another. 

Some of the evidence of this conundrum is apparent in the critical reception for The Rover starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Because it is a dystopian tragedy set in Australia, many can’t help but assume similarities with a previous film franchise Mad Max (which incidentally starred Mel Gibson). The problem with this assessment (like a work of art) The Rover has completely different or unique goals of its own.

In production design Mad Max intended to describe how perverse, vicious, and apocalyptic the future would naturally become if the events of a nuclear war actually occurred. On a far more personal level The Rover aims to specify how horrific spiritual degradation would likely be in a far more recent or intimate circumstance (though the cause of the social breakdown is not specified). For the sake of portraying contemporary reality, the production design plays a far less significant expressive story-telling role in The Rover, for this reviewer the emotional and intellectual impact was far higher.

Though earning a Fresh Rating of 68% on Rotten, many dissenting critics claimed anger or resentment at the film’s ending. Yet, the ending helps explain so many of the film’s many powerful plot, character, and scenario contradictions. Think of the M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, without its explosive ending how would the rest of the film hold up? The same is true for The Rover. Was it some variation on Mad Max expectations that caused this misinterpretation? Or was it far more personal expectations that caused this kind of hostility?

If you don’t think this description is an oxymoron, normally somewhat level headed, critic and comic book movie advocate Grace Randolph of the Behind the Trailer movie Blog out right specified “Avoid The Rover!’ Is this because the ending was too unpredictable for people waiting for a prescribed, palatable and acceptable ending? Somehow respect from Cannes doesn’t rate as a reason to focus on the film.

Oddly I think this reception describes a prejudice on the part of many contemporary critics and film enthusiasts. They’re just too distracted by Hollywood events, innuendo, reputation, glamor and status to actually watch or pay attention to the actual film. Then they call it boring, pretentious or suggest they were offended or disregarded in someway when the truth is they were attracted to the work because of a list of things that had nothing to do with the actual story or what anyone did to tell the tale. Some side topics might be titillating, yet without back stage cliff notes about side motivations and other gossip — getting their attention is near impossible.

The Rover: The Truth is Never Sexy: Part-1

16 Responses to “The Rover: The Truth is Never Sexy-Part-2”

  1. Open Book July 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM #

    Well said CR. “They’re just too distracted by Hollywood events, innuendo, reputation, glamor and status to actually watch or pay attention to the actual film.”

    Is this the film critic u were talking about? If so I thought her review was incoherent and all over the place. I could not take her seriously AT ALL!!! I can’t believe comic book fans really listen to her.

    • comicreleaf July 5, 2014 at 3:30 PM #

      Open book,

      She has had a You tube channels for a long time. Meaning she’s something of a celebrity and one of the few really prominent fan girls (I am familiar with) in that world.

      • Open Book July 5, 2014 at 3:40 PM #

        Fan Girl? Well that explains it.

        • comicreleaf July 5, 2014 at 4:05 PM #

          Explains what?

          • Open Book July 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM #

            Meaning she should stick to reviewing films like “The Transformers.”

  2. Open Book July 3, 2014 at 7:09 PM #

    One commenter said they would rather listen to Q. Tarantino than Grace. I second that motion. Perhaps Grace should see the film again sober.

    From Tarantino:

    “A mesmerizing, visionary achievement. The best post-apocalyptic movie since the original Mad Max. With the one-two punch of The Rover & Animal Kingdom, David Michôd proves himself to be the most uncompromising director of his generation.”

    • comicreleaf July 5, 2014 at 3:32 PM #


      “Prominent” does not mean she deserves her a reputation or that it is a good one.

  3. littlebells July 5, 2014 at 12:47 AM #

    Great assessment CR! I’m even more intrigued now! Even if I may not like an ending, I would still rather see something unexpected than predictable.

    • comicreleaf July 5, 2014 at 3:34 PM #

      AGREED. But what was there to dislike; (what, you did not get the one you expected).

      • Open Book July 5, 2014 at 3:38 PM #

        What’s wrong with surprises or learning something new?

        • comicreleaf July 5, 2014 at 4:07 PM #

          Nothing, unfortunately many do not go the movies for that.

          • Open Book July 5, 2014 at 4:13 PM #

            There’s nothing wrong with options. Why not mix it up a little every now and then and see some mindless films and some thought provoking, spiritually uplifting films? 🙂

  4. littlebells July 5, 2014 at 12:48 AM #

    CR and OB, how would you rate this film?

    • comicreleaf July 5, 2014 at 3:38 PM #

      I think the film will be remembered as a far more significant film than it appears right now. I’m glad Pattinson did the film. It even made him appear like a far better actor than I expected. And that’s saying a lot — I already thought he was a good actor.

    • Open Book July 5, 2014 at 4:08 PM #

      How would I rate the film on a scale from 1-10? I give it a 10 because it was unpredictable,imaginative.and very relevant to today. Also the performances were very good. I know people keep referencing Mad Max when talking about this film. But this film for me was very reminiscent of Momento. Not because it had Guy Pearce in it but it had a similar non-linear storytelling and energy behind it.

  5. Open Book July 18, 2014 at 2:35 PM #

    This comment was emailed to me from Parisienne:

    ” LOVED THE FILM! Nothing bad to say about any of it. I read spoilers so I know what happened ( I tend to do that) however I was not prepared for the EMOTIONAL JOURNEY I went on. I have no words for it other than to say I will purchase this film when it is released on DVD and kudos to David Michod. I’m now interested in seeing Animal Kingdom.

    I would like to say something to Rob:


    If you ever read this (ha ha) know that you possess within you extraordinary talent. I have followed your career for many years and have never seen one person be able to influence masses of people as you have. From what you read to music you listen to. People want to know. Why? I don’t know and I’m sure you don’t either.

    I have read interviews with people you have worked with and they speak of the “bizarre bubble” you live in. That “bizarre bubble” is peoples’ perception of you. Not who you really are.

    Know that your work has and continues to inspire others to find the greatness within themselves.”

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