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“The Rover” is a bleak work, and an uncompromisingly violent one, but it’s been made with so much skill that it’s hard to get it out of your mind. The second feature film by Australian writer-director David Michod, responsible for the surprise 2010 critical success “Animal Kingdom,” it confirms him as an impressive filmmaker with a talent for creating distinctive worlds and depositing us right in the heart of them.
Set in an economically impoverished future, “The Rover” stars Guy Pearce in a performance of pure controlled ferocity. He plays a man on an implacable, obsessive stop-at-nothing quest to recover his stolen car, with an unrecognizable Robert Pattinson equally strong as a weaker man who gets pulled along in his wake. Tense and remorseless and shot in 100-degrees-plus heat, this is a film that chills the blood as well as the soul.