A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Rover is a post-apocalyptic crime movie from Australia. It's very downbeat and violent, with a high body count for a movie with relatively few characters. Nearly everyone is shot, with lots of blood spatters and pools of blood. There's also a car crash and some brief fighting. The movie has some strong and/or disturbing sexual suggestion and innuendo, including a visit to a place that allows customers to sleep with young boys. This movie isn't for younger viewers, although it could be a word-of-mouth hit among adventurous older teens looking for the next "cool" movie.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In a dreary future, after a global market crash, lowlifes, has-beens, and criminals from all over wind up in Australia. During a botched robbery, the gut-shot, simple-minded Rey (Robert Pattinson) is left behind by his brother. Unfortunately, the robbers make the mistake of stealing a car belonging to Eric (Guy Pearce), and he wants it back. Eric rescues Rey, planning to use him to find the robbers, and they hit the road. They travel through a desolate, baking-hot, dusty land filled with strange refugees and odd characters, with death and violence lurking at every stop. Eventually Rey will have to face his brother, Henry (Scoot McNairy), and decide which side he's on. And Eric will have to decide how many lives are worth whatever is in his car.
Is it any good?
This is a spare, bleak story that relies on ambiguity and mystery. Made through the Australian film collective Blue Tongue Films, THE ROVER is the second feature film by director David Michod, whose Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom was a great, complex, dense gangster film. This movie is almost the polar opposite. It's bound to remind viewers of The Mad Max/Road Warrior movies with its silences and baking-hot open spaces. When characters do speak, the language sounds lyrical and sometimes profound.
The dystopian setting is slightly problematic, since it tends to raise stray questions when audiences should be focusing on what's happening in any given moment. And the movie never settles on why Rey would willingly go along with Eric, although the mesmerizing presentation is enough to smooth over any plot hiccups. A spooky musical score by Antony Partos completes the package.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Rover's violence. How shocking is it? How many violent incidents take place on screen? Off screen? What's the difference in their impact?
How does the movie see the future? Is money the reason for our downfall, or is it something else? How can we avoid such a future?
What's the appeal of post-apocalyptic movies? How do they help us view the present?
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