Starring Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy; directed by David Michod; R for strong language, some bloody violence; 102 minutes; C-

The guys involved with Australia's Blue-Tongue Films make gritty little crime thrillers with twist endings that have earned them a global reputation. Their best works - "The Square" and especially the Oscar-nominated "Animal Kingdom" - take hard-boiled American conceits and breathe new life into them by giving them an Aussie twist.

They stumble though with "The Rover," a beautifully shot, post-apocalyptic fever dream that might have worked as a short but is inconsequential as a feature film. The ending, which is supposed to be clever, really is just a letdown.

It's a decade after a calamitous economic collapse, and Eric (disheveled Guy Pearce) is alone in the Outback with just his car, his thoughts and a weird karaoke bar that is somehow still open. His peace is disturbed by three outlaws - including an American, Henry (Scoot McNairy) - who've crashed their truck and need some new wheels.

But they get more than they bargained for after stealing Eric's seemingly anonymous sedan. He vows to haunt them across the scorched Australian wilderness. Director David Michod ("Animal Kingdom"), is adept at building tension. He's helped by Natasha Braier's exquisite cinematography.

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram