No one can pull off an intense, icy stare whilst covered in dirt and grime quite like Guy Pearce.
The Australian actor — always welcome company — traverses a desolate near-future in "The Rover," the new thriller from director David Michôd, who collaborated with Pierce in his acclaimed crime drama, "Animal Kingdom" (2010).
Michôd wastes no time in setting up his grim world in the teaser trailer, giving us a close-up of a scavenging vulture before ones of Pearce, who narrates with a quiet, seething intensity, and Robert Pattinson, who continues choosing interesting projects in his post-"Twilight" career ("Cosmopolis" was awesome, and everyone should've seen it).
The plot involves loner Eric (Pearce) pursuing the gang that stole his vehicle, forcing the member left behind (Pattinson) to help him, but there's no trace of a narrative in this first look — it's all about the startling images, moody atmosphere and sudden violence.
Guy Pearce is right at home in this kind of story. "Ravenous" (1999), "The Proposition" (2005) and "The Road" (2009) all serve as precursors to this rugged tale of survival, against both humankind (or what remains of it) and the elements. Heck, "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (1994) kind of belongs in that group, too.
Guy Pearce in 'The Rover' (Photo: A24)
Actually, the film that "The Rover" most recalls is "Mad Max" (1979), though Michôd, who conceived the story with "Animal Kingdom" co-star Joel Edgerton, seems to have anticipated that comparison.
"You put cars in the desert in Australia and people are going to think of Mad Max," said Michôd in an interview with Inside Movies. "And with all due respect to that film — and I stress that — I think 'The Rover' is going to be way more chillingly authentic and menacing."
We'll see. And we're definitely in.
"The Rover" will open sometime this summer.