What is it about Australia that makes for great post-apocalyptic film? For many of us George Miller’s Mad Max trilogy is the pure definition of the genre, not to mention that it made Mel Gibson a global superstar. And now Aussie director David Michod is back with his own addition to the genre, The Rover, his follow-up to 2010’s unflinching crime saga Animal Kingdom. It was recently announced that the film will appear at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May, and this new trailer that A24 Pictures just released looks absolutely incredible.
Michod wrote the script based on an idea he came up with alongside his fellow Aussie, and frequent co-conspirator, Joel Edgerton (Warrior). The action picks up ten years after society has collapsed into a lawless frontier wasteland where violence is a way of life and you don’t last long without being good at making people die. Eric (Guy Pearce) is a loner who drifts all around the outback, from desolate town to desolate town. A gang of hoods steals his car, and leave behind the wounded Rey (Robert Pattinson). Eric forces the younger man, who appears far too soft for this world, to help track them down and reclaim what is his.
The tone and feel of this trailer is pitch perfect for this style and this subject matter. Everything is grim, dirty, dusty, and bleak beyond imagination. I love the overall aesthetic of The Rover, which is austere and forbidding; quiet, but punctuated with sharp explosions of extreme brutality. This has the countenance of a gritty western, and is certainly not going to be for the faint of heart. That shot of Pearce just sitting there, totally calm, as the car goes skidding past the window upside down is nothing short of fantastic.
Pearce is suitably grizzled and roughed up to sell his character, you definitely fear the guy and he has nothing left to lose. We’ll have to wait and see how Pattinson handles that southern drawl—there’s not enough here to really see if he pulls it off for the long haul or not. He shows some promise, and you can tell he’s trying desperately to shake off what’s left of those vampire sparkles. Throw in Scoot McNairy (Monsters, 12 Years A Slave), and you’ve got the makings of one hell of a cast.
After The Rover debuts in France, it opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 13, and expands its run to the rest of the country on June 20. I can’t wait.