Like a Road Warrior writ small, The Rover skitters across a slightly futuristic Australia, a car chase pitched against a great void. But this doesn’t feel like an adventure movie—more like a stripped-down Western about a single-minded quest.
The single mind belongs to Eric (Guy Pearce), a blasted soul whose car is stolen while he’s getting a drink at a desolate spot in the outback. His wheels have been taken by three criminals fleeing a robbery; they’ve dumped their getaway vehicle outside. This means Eric can actually commandeer their still-drivable car and make pursuit. Or he could just take their car and drive away. In this wide-open world, that seems like a fair trade—yet he spends the rest of the film brutally tracking the thieves down. He has to have that car.