The Rover reflects director's despair
HAVING won over critics with the complex, dark family drama Animal Kingdom in his directorial debut, David Michod wanted to pare things back to tell a simpler story about survival in his next film.
The Rover - out in Singapore theatres next Thursday - follows a lone character, Eric, who has his car stolen and embarks on a journey to recover it, handling threats and obstacles along the way.
Australian director Michod created a stark, stripped-down, decaying setting in the outback of his native country and said he was inspired by his "despair" at the world today. "I felt like I was literally making a movie that was set in a strange, dangerous and inhospitable version of the present day," he said.
And, yet, Michod said he still wanted Eric, played by Guy Pearce, to have some hope, in the form of an unlikely friendship with Rey, played by Robert Pattinson.
Rey, an American petty criminal left for dead, is rescued by Eric and forms a bond with the introverted man. They go on a journey to recover Eric's car and reunite Rey with his brother.
Pattinson transformed himself to play the dim-witted young Rey by adopting a jolted southern accent, accompanied by twitches, tics and blank stares.
"It was quite interesting playing someone who basically has zero faith in himself," the actor said. "As soon as he starts opening his mouth, he'll...start almost questioning his own sentence."
The talkative Rey offers a sharp contrast to Eric, whom Pearce described as "a wounded animal". Eric spends much of the film in silence.
"I really enjoy working without necessarily relying on words and talking," the actor said. "The story you're...telling is totally possible without actually having to say anything, and, then, when you do speak, it really is more effective."
Michod said: "This movie is about how, even in incredibly violent and challenging circumstances, people still have a basic need to try and find an intimate connection with other human beings, so I like to think about this movie as a movie about love."