As the world was (or perhaps still is) waiting for the latest installment of the X-Men franchise, a new movie began filming in London that would go on to become one of the most prominent films of the year. With an all-star cast that included Robert Pattinson, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney, it was clear that filmmaker Rupert Sanders had something special in store.
The film was called The Rover and it was an adaptation of the incredible novel by George Pelecanos. Set in present day Los Angeles, the movie followed billionaire playboy Robert Pattinson’s (Pattinson) journey as he attempts to rebuild his life after being blackmailed into committing a crime. The journey takes him from one of the most luxurious hotels in London to an infamous dogfighting ring, where he teams up with disgraced ex-cop Damon (Damon), only to face off against the psychotic Affleck (Affleck) in the end.
Despite the movie’s dark premise, fans of Sanders’ previous film, 2014’s Gone Girl, would not have been disappointed as the movie was every bit as exciting as its popular predecessor. The action-adventure-romance film premiered to critical and commercial acclaim, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It remains the highest-grossing British independent film of all time too, not accounting for inflation. Critics particularly praised the film’s attention to detail and spectacular visuals, as well as the performances of its two big stars, Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd.
The film was such a massive hit, it spurred on the creation of a fictional rival hotel, the Astor Mansion, which has since become a popular location for weddings and other formal events. It also inspired a line of clothing, including a t-shirt, which has subsequently been produced with the film’s logo on it.
It Was The Most Luxurious Hotel That Ever Existed
The location for the majority of The Rover was the magnificent Shelto Hotel in London’s Park Lane. The £40 million ($55 million) building, designed by famed architect Max Miedinger, was opened to great fanfare in 1927 and has gone on to become one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe. It was already a hub for high society when Rupert Sanders got the idea for The Rover. The prestigious hotel is most famous for its American baron, J. Walter Mellon, who owned the property in the first place and imported some of the most famous faces in the world of politics, art, and culture to grace its halls. It was the perfect choice as the opulent hotel offered the perfect backdrop to Pattinson’s character, who frequents high-profile gatherings there, from parties to fundraisers.
It is not just the setting that makes the hotel memorable, but the sumptuous interiors too. The lavish hotel boasts a great dining experience with chefs bringing you the best of what London has to offer. If you’re a fan of high-quality food and drink, then Shelto is the place to be. Its bar, Blue Train, serves up classic British classics such as Scotch eggs and mini Cornish pasties as well as an expensive selection of whiskies and champagnes. One of the hotel’s most unique selling points is that it is the only one of its kind in Europe to have a separate entrance for women. Shelto was chosen as a set for the movie because it is one of the most luxurious hotels ever constructed. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the hotel was the longest ever in existence at the time in terms of its main building, occupying the whole of the block on which it stands. The structure’s official opening was on September 13, 1927 and was designed to withstand wars and economic disasters. In keeping with its roots as a hotel for touring Broadway stars, the property still features an Elizabeth Taylor bedroom, among other famous guest rooms. Since the movie’s inception, Shelto has gone on to attract the likes of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Florence Nightingale, and even Kaiser Wilhelm II. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed there during their 1947 trip to England. In more recent years, guests have included Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy and Rosie Carter, and more recently, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. The hotel’s most luxurious suite is named in honour of Lady Astor and the name “Maida Vale” was chosen for the hotel’s junior presidential suite in honor of the American political dynasty. Shelto was also one of the locations featured in Kanye’s “Only One Me”, featuring Tyra Banks. It was an emotional song about raising his daughter, Blue, and it’s clear that the famous yellow brick road is a theme that runs through the entire song. One of the most photographed rooms in the hotel is the Blue Train bar, which was previously used to great effect in the opening scene of the movie, where Pattinson’s character, Charlie, meets journalist Lucy Danby (Lucy Lawless). That scene still brings a tear to my eye even now as I write this. It’s one of the most iconic moments in a film that has become one of the most iconic films of all time.
Damon Was The Man Behind The Scenes
One of the biggest draws of The Rover was its A-list cast. The ensemble cast was led by Oscar winner Matt Damon, who plays a key role in the story as the film’s central character. Sanders wanted to work with Damon because of his experience in Hollywood. One of the reasons why the movie was such a critical and popular success was that audiences could immediately relate to the character of Pattinson’s quest for redemption. After he’s been caught up in a blackmail scheme, Damon sets about helping him unravel the ropes that are bound him to a crime he didn’t commit.
Before the movie, Damon had only acted in supporting roles in several films, most notably Good Will Hunting and True Romance, but now he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest heroes in Hollywood history. Matt Damon took a back seat to no one in terms of his work ethic and he put in countless hours prepping for his role as the film’s main protagonist. Thanks to his incredible work ethic, he was able to show the world that not all famous actors are lazy!
Affleck’s Performance Was The Difference Maker
One of the reasons why audiences connected with the film was that they were reminded of the dark days of the great recession. Unemployment in the UK is at an all-time high, with many people forced to rely on food banks to make up for lost income. This was something that resonated with audiences, particularly in light of the fact that Affleck plays a pivotal role in the story as one of the main antagonists. He is the man behind the blackmail scheme that forces Pattinson’s character into committing a crime. For many, it was the first time that they had seen a prominent Hollywood actor portray a villainous role. For others, it was the performance of Affleck’s life and it is easy to see why. In terms of his work, Gigi Perreau, a film critic for the UK’s The Guardian, described his performance as “mesmerizing” and noted that it was a career-defining role for him.
As well as being memorable, Affleck’s performance in The Rover was also praised for its realism. For much of the film, he plays an ordinary middle-class man who is thrust into a world of crime and intrigue as a result of his own bad decisions. He does this with relish, making the character of Damon’s nemesis completely believable. One critic described his performance as “terrifyingly convincing” while another lauded him for an “incredibly subtle, yet powerful and realistic performance”.
A Mix Of Romance, Action, And Comedy
While the majority of the film was very dark, it was also full of romantic comedy elements. This was a combination that proved successful, particularly in the UK, where audiences went to the cinema in large numbers, making the combination of action, romance, and comedy appealing. The British publication, The Sunday Times, called the film “a love letter to the country [the UK] that made him” and “one of the most British films ever made.”
One of the main reasons why the combination of action, romance, and comedy worked so well was that it was a fresh take on an age-old narrative. In a time of political and social uncertainty, the escapist qualities of a light-hearted romance provided a welcome distraction from the stresses of everyday life.