Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in The Rover.

In a post-economic-collapse Australia, Eric (Guy Pearce) stops for a drink in a dirty bar—and promptly has his car stolen. He gets a truck in exchange for that car, but doesn’t care, and immediately begins a relentless pursuit of his vehicle.

Along the way, he picks up Rey (Robert Pattinson), an injured brother of one of the car thieves. They form a strange alliance that results in many deaths during the pursuit of the automobile.

With The Rover, David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) has made a moody film utilizing an uncomfortable-looking Australian Outback. Pearce delivers some of his finest, fiercest work since the underrated The Proposition, while Pattinson is extremely good as the simple, messed-up Rey. The film also features Scoot McNairy, an actor who is piling up the great performances, in a small but very noticeable role as Rey’s brother.

The film is full of stark imagery, sudden violence and dirt. Everything is covered in dirt. The grime suits the story—a story that proves you don’t need a heavy, complicated plot to make a good movie.

The Rover is now playing at the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 760-770-1615).