I've never really been anti-Robert-Pattinson because I avoided all of the Twilight nonsense about as well as any human being who lived through the past ten years could manage - in fact, while I was maybe a little hesitant about it at first on a second viewing I fell quite in love with his performance in David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis. So this isn't coming from the usual place, is my point, when I admit that I really wasn't all that nuts about what he's doing in The Rover. I kept being reminded of Jake Gyllenhaal's work in Prisoners, another overly mannered twitch-a-thon that I had to throw skeptical side-eyes at those who I felt were overpraising it - both performances just reek of trying way too hard. And I have no idea what Rob's accent was going for. But bless him, he certainly didn't burn off my Cosmopolis goodwill quite yet; we'll see where his next team-up with Cronenberg takes us.
It probably doesn't help him that he's acting opposite Guy Pearce who is firing on all cylinders and then some - you watch this movie wishing you got to watch Guy Pearce a whole lot more often than you get to. He's just knocking out scene after scene, even when sometimes the pieces he's being asked to play don't entirely add up. Don't matter - he knocks 'em out anyway. There's a lot to love about The Rover - it's a beautiful thing, the music's divine, and as he proved with Animal Kingdom director David Michôd knows how to wind up the tension well past the snapping point and then swish and swirl and stampede even further - but there are holes, literally and artistically, that could've used some filling.