Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson give rock-solid performances in “The Rover,” a post-apocalyptic drama whose spare bleakness needs all the acting firepower it can get.
Set in Australia, “10 years after the collapse” (which is all the explanation we get), the action starts when a group of bandits steal a car. Pearce’s character owns that car, and he really wants it back. He learns that the thieves’ ringleader, Henry (Scoot McNairy), left behind his slightly backward brother, Rey (Pattinson), who was wounded and left for dead. The man goes to murderous extremes to kidnap Rey, who will lead him to Henry.
Director/screenwriter David Michôd, following up his crime-family debut “Animal Kingdom,” uses the stark Australian landscapes to best effect. But while the details of this dystopian future are annoyingly vague, Pearce’s mostly wordless intensity and Pattinson’s anti-glamour turn make it worth watching.
Opens today at area theaters; rated R for language and some bloody violence; 102 minutes.