Here are some of the reviews from critics that attended the press screening at Cannes and twitter reactions (at the bottom of the post).
Please keep in mind that reviews can contain spoilers and although overall positive reactions, the movie won't please everyone.
Click on the links to read the full reviews.
Pearce is fiercely impressive here as a man who gave up on the human race even before the latest round of calamities, and if there are occasional glimpses of the kinder, gentler man he might once have been, we are more frequently privy to his savage survival instincts. But it’s Pattinson who turns out to be the film’s greatest surprise, sporting a convincing Southern accent and bringing an understated dignity to a role that might easily have been milked for cheap sentimental effects. With his slurry drawl and wide-eyed, lap-dog stare, Rey initially suggests a latter-day Lennie Small, but he isn’t so much developmentally disabled as socially regressed — an overprotected mama’s boy suddenly cast to the wolves — and Pattinson never forces or overdoes anything, building up an empathy for the character that’s entirely earned. He becomes an oasis of humanity in this stark, forsaken land.
The Hollywood Reporter
Pattinson delivers a performance that, despite the character’s own limitations, becomes more interesting as the film moves along, suggesting that the young actor might indeed be capable of offbeat character work. But always commanding attention at the film’s center is Pearce, who, under a taciturn demeanor, gives Eric all the cold-hearted remorselessness of a classic Western or film noir anti-hero who refuses to die before exacting vengeance for an unpardonable crime.
Pearce is reliably riveting as the totally stonefaced Man With No Name Except Maybe Eric, and Michod exploits his charisma for all its worth in the many extended takes of his inscrutable, unreadable mien, while Pattinson, who we were initially worried might be too tic-laden to fully convince, actually turns in a performance that manages to be more affecting than affected. It’s certainly the best we’ve seen him deliver, despite the rather standard-issue-halfwit yokel accent and the actor commits to it wholly. The contrast between these men, Pattinson as twitchy as Pearce is impassive is marked and its in the space between the two, punctuated by bursts of gunfire, that the film really lives.
Accompanied by an eclectic score of drones and electronic pulses interrupted by some incongruous tracks (including a very funny, slightly meta use of “Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful” as hummed-along-to by Pattinson) the story Michod and Joel Edgerton came up with, all the way back before “Animal Kingdom” may not quite reach the heights of that crime saga, but it arguably fulfills another important function: it shows Michod work with other genres and textures, and still make a film that is unmistakably his, and that is how auteurs are made.
Little White Lies
Performances are pitched just right between hard-bitten and mournful. Guy Pierce, as all know, has stoically grizzled down to a fine art, while Pattinson manages his new non-heart-throb ground (the make-up team have wrought merry hell on his teeth) with admirable pathos. His limp, hick accent, facial tics and staccato delivery play second, third, fourth and fifth fiddle to a whole lot of heart, and one that Eric cannot help but fall for. If there’s one thing this violent metaphysical drama emphasises it’s that heart is, when all else fails, a man’s best friend.
Michôd creates a good deal of ambient menace in The Rover; Pearce has a simmering presence. But I felt there was a bit of muddle, and the clean lines of conflict and tension had been blurred: the dystopian future setting doesn't add much and hasn't been very rigorously imagined. I even had the suspicion that the screenplay should perhaps have gone through one or two more drafts, or perhaps returned to an earlier draft, when casting was clearer. Well, Michôd certainly delivers some brain-frazzling heat and directionless despair.
Pearce's scowling appearance and relentless ability to force others to meet his demands—particularly in a sudden burst of violence when he seeks out a firearm—marks his strongest role since "Animal Kingdom," while Pattinson finally moves beyond wooden mannerisms to give his awkward character a pathetic, creepy demeanor.
Robert Pattinson's Rey seems like he's barely able to function as a person. He mumbles, he seems like a bit of a dummy, and while he seems capable of violence, he feels like a scared kid who's constantly terrified of everyone else, unsure why people do what they do, unable to communicate on those rare occasions that the synapses all actually do fire. He's very good in the role, and while I'm not crazy about the film as a whole, if Pattinson keeps making choices like this and his ongoing collaboration with David Cronenberg, there may actually be a future for him where people are genuinely shocked to learn that he starred in the "Twilight" movies.
Vanity Fair (more like an article about the movie, press screening and Rob at Cannes than a review)
When we first see Pattinson, he is covered in dust (as is just everything else in this film) and clutching a gun wound to his gut. His hair has been chopped down to an unglamorous crew cut, and his teeth are those of a lifelong tobacco-spitter. He speaks in a high-pitched Southern drawl, and he’s as twitchy as Pearce is ice-cold and deliberate. In one endearing sequence, Pattinson even busts out a falsetto to sing along to the chorus of Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock.”
Pearce is the center of the film and a forceful presence as usual, but Pattinson puts in a formidable and truly transformative performance all his own. Rey is an unattractive character in an unattractive world, with rotten teeth, a bad haircut, and an off-putting, twitchy demeanor, but there's no sense that Pattinson did any of this in a superficial effort to ugly himself up and distance himself from his heartthrob image. If anything, the role should stand as proof to any doubters that with the right director and the freedom to break free of his own public persona, Pattinson has real ability and magnetism on screen. You can judge for yourself when The Rover hits theaters in the U.S. beginning on June 13.
While the film and its experience is fresh in my mind, the more I begin to think about it and process it even as I begin writing about it, the more I realize how much Michôd has hidden in the silence, in the quietness and dialogue-free moments. In turn, this makes every last word spoken that much more important. Pearce, similar to Ryan Gosling in Drive, carefully chooses every word, every twitch, every muscle in his body to deliver a performance that speaks volumes while actually saying very little. Even Robert Pattinson, giving one of his best fidgety, aloof performances to date, has so much more to say between every word he speaks.
As anyone who’s seen Animal Kingdom will know, the squeamish need not apply: there are shocks, but not in a gimmicky way. This is about communicating the horrors of a desperate, barren world – something we’ve seen before, of course, but Michôd gives it his own spin. Characters are well-drawn, despite long swathes without dialogue – Pearce is as strong as he’s ever been and Pattinson shows more range than many might expect.
When, for much of the central section, the film becomes effectively a moody two-header for Pattinson and Pearce, The Rover essentially flatlines. Still, there’s much here to admire, not least the casting of some formidable plug-uglies, the general grunginess and grubbiness created by designer Jo Ford, and the ominous metallic clang of Anthony Partos’s unusual score.
Several members of the press have advanced the notion that The Rover finally proves Pattinson's acting chops, though I think he already acquitted himself admirably two years ago when he starred in David Cronenberg's Cannes premiere Cosmopolis. What they really mean is that The Rover lets Pattinson be butch for once, waving around a gun and caking his face with blood and dirt in a bid to prove his manliness in the wake of Twilight.
It's ironic, then, that the best-liked part of The Rover comes when Pattinson — and the movie — gets a little lighter in the loafers. Sitting alone in his car before a major gun battle, Pattinson listens to the radio and sings along. The song is Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock," and Pattinson's dumb-dumb launches into an unexpectedly sweet falsetto, certain that no one is watching. "Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful," he croons. "Now do the pretty girl rock." Pattinson knows what it's like to be hated for his franchise-leading beauty, and the solutions are clear: He can either brush that dirt off his shoulder, or, as in The Rover, smear it all over his face.
There is a huge amount of talent on display in "The Rover", and the opening ten minutes is as captivating as anything you’re likely to see at the movies this year. In it, Michôd presents pieces of his narrative puzzle in a series of near-surrealist vignettes that we’re excited to see come together.
The director does hark back to some of his stronger points though with counterpointed pop music interspersed in a rousing, almost adventurous avant garde score. Most impressively of all, the director draws a remarkably against-type performance from his Twilight star. Pattinson pulls off nervous twitching, shoddy posture and general writhing to great effect; his character's a classic fool and he plays it so
Pattinson’s Rey has an accent that sounds more Arkansas than Aussie, no reason given, but delivers a seriously good performance that will help move him past his vampire trifles. He’s well-paired with the reliable Pearce, who has played desperate men before, but never one of such contained fury.
hough thematically similar to Mad Max, another Australian dystopian roadmovie, The Rover is an interesting take on a future dystopia with compelling performances by Pearce and Pattinson, with the latter succeeding in getting rid of his Twilight-image.
Australian Associated Press
Repeating the feat was always bound to be difficult but 41-year-old Michod's follow-up - a road movie from hell - is enthralling, unrelenting and superbly acted by leads Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson.
Pearce, conveying as much with his gaze than anything else, is captivating throughout as his past and motives are slowly revealed right up until the final frame. Former teen heartthrob and Twilight star Pattinson delivers potentially his best performance yet, convincing as the twitchy Rey and evoking empathy in his tortured struggle between family loyalty and resentment at being left for dead.
Up against Pearce, Pattinson steps up his game and acquits himself admirably. He plays tic-laden Rey from the American South, complete with hillbilly accent, with wide-eyed, dim-witted naivety.
As Pattinson continues to do his utmost to shy away from his heartthrob status, it’s a huge departure from anything he’s done before and he gives it his all in the best performance of his career so far.
Hey U Guys
Like most films set in the future, Michod’s The Rover is a damning indictment of our society and a warning of the price we might pay for our behaviour. Yet there is nothing here we haven’t seen before. It has much in common with films such as The Road, but adds little to it. Guy Pearce excels in a difficult role and Robert Pattinson is believable and entertaining as his partner on this oft-beaten track through a dystopia of our making.
The Rover = Masterpiece. #Cannes2014— David Ketchum (@KetchumAtMovies) May 17, 2014
The Rover is tough stuff. Biggest departure 4 Robert Pattinson to date. Movie has impressive moments but too precious 4 material. #Cannes— gregoryellwood (@HitFixGregory) May 17, 2014
THE ROVER: Clint & Mel comparisons for dystopic Aussie road pic, but Steinbeck loneliness resonates. Guy Pearce & Robert Pattinson, top form— Peter Howell (@peterhowellfilm) May 17, 2014
Similar to Drive, the power of The Rover is in its silence, and all the imagery. Michod's choices and shots speak loudly without being loud.— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) May 17, 2014
Great soundtrack on The Rover too. Eclectic might be the word. #Cannes2014— Joe Utichi (@joeutichi) May 17, 2014
The Rover - Subversive, gritty, brutal, questionable. Touches of first Mad Max. A very quiet, but loud film. Bearded Guy Pearce is badass.— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) May 17, 2014
The first A in this festival, at least for me. "The Rover" A— Winter Wonderland (@_Winter_wind) May 17, 2014
Seriously, I think at time the whole thing reached unbelievable limits,but damn #RobertPattinson knows how to deliver in a drama— Winter Wonderland (@_Winter_wind) May 17, 2014
ROVER-desert dry, deliberately paced post-Western revenge film. Pearce sizzles, Robert Pattinson's Joaquin-like role best yet #Cannes2014— Jason Gorber (@filmfest_ca) May 17, 2014
Just out of #TheRover screening. Really, a triumph of transformation for Rob. What do you guys want to know?!— POPSUGAR (@POPSUGAR) May 17, 2014
Okay: Rob holds his own with Guy Pearce, excels at his Southern Accent, sings "Pretty Girl Rock" and yes--is frequently shirtless. #TheRover— POPSUGAR (@POPSUGAR) May 17, 2014