The Deserters: The film’s strongest asset by far is Robert Pattinson. He takes the role of a mentally disabled man (which can so easily slip into offensive nonsense) and imbues it with physical subtlety and emotional complexity. He nails the character’s specificities and plays them in a way that never feels contrived.

You have to admire Pattinson’s willingness to take on roles like this in such tiny, offbeat films after having achieved such massive mainstream success. He’s a very talented actor who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his abilities.

The same can’t be said for Guy Pearce, at least not in this role. If you’ve seen one “tortured grizzled white dude,” you’ve seen him in The Rover. The script’s refusal to flesh out his backstory is laudable, but it also doesn’t give Pearce much to work with. He sells the character’s barely-restrained rage and deeply buried sensitivity, but you’re left wishing that Pattinson was the protagonist.

Full review

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Robert Pattinson, Maps to the Stars premiere - TIFF 2014

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