One normally thinks of economic problems when thinking of government collapse but 2014's The Rover focuses on the moral void, the absence of communally agreed upon ideas of right and wrong and punishment. It's a good, rather cruel film, sort of a jazz riff on Of Mice and Men, taking the basic melodies--themes and characters--and creating variations on them.
Ten years after what's simply called "the collapse", Eric (Guy Pearce) wanders the hot, dusty landscape of Australia. One day his car is stolen by a few wounded men on the run and for most of the film Eric is trying to get his car back. It's his white rabbit and his motives are almost as arbitrary as Alice's--even though he quickly acquires another vehicle, one senses his single minded focus on getting his car back is related to a desperate need to find a motive of some kind, any kind, however small to cling to.
He meets Rey (Robert Pattinson), the brother of one of the men who stole his car, apparently abandoned by that brother in the escape from militia. Eric doesn't trust anyone and barely seems capable of having a complete conversation but something about Rey's simple heartedness draws Eric out and we learn more about him. Eric, for his primary trouble being a sense of a fundamentally meaningless universe, has a very strict sense of morality which seems to appeal to Rey. When Rey accidentally kills an innocent person and tells Eric he feels bad about it, Eric tells him he should feel bad. Eric provides for Rey the thing Eric finds sorely lacking in the world, a moral authority. Like Lennie in Of Mice and Men, Rey is the one capable of creating a dream for the two of them while Eric, like George, is burdened with always having to see reality for what it is.
It's nicely shot, conveying the emptiness of dystopian landscape and making use of Australia's almost inevitably cinematic landscape. The performances are good, even Pattinson's.
Twitter Sonnet #689
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