Rss

  • linkedin

Archives for : Carey Mulligan

Movie Review: “Wildlife” is a Frustrating Slow Burn

Sometimes there’s only so much a strong cast can do to make up for a story that drags. Wildlife creates some smoke but hardly ignites any flames.

Wildlife is based on the Richard Ford novel and directed by actor Paul Dano. Set in 1960s’ Montana, a young boy, Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), quietly observes the gradual dissolution of his parent’s marriage. His father, Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), is an uncompromising and principled man of meager means, but Joe has strong admiration for his dad. His mother, Jeanette (Carey Mulligan), is more practical and driven. She is a conventional stay at home wife and mother. When Jerry loses his job and sees no other option than to sign up to fight wild fires, the dangerous undertaking separates him from his family for weeks at a time. Jeanette stays home and cuts as many corners as possible until she feels she has no other choice but to embark on an affair with her boss (Bill Camp).

I’m not going to lie, I think I made this film sound more interesting than it was from that previous paragraph. With the exception of the very beginning and the very end, the rest of the film is a whole lot of nothing. So much so that it’s hard to stay interested. Once Gyllenhaal’s character leaves his family, we are stuck in a story that feels like it will never end.

Though Mulligan’s performance in Wildlife is fantastic, her character is insufferable. There are times when you truly feel for her as a lonely mother trying to provide for her child, but it’s tough to stand by her during her affair and what she allows her son to witness. Oxenbould does a fine job as the naive, yet wide-eyed son and Gyllenhaal might have stood out more, if he was actually in the film for longer than 10 minutes. However, he creates a spark toward the end of the movie that might give audiences the jolt they need to get back into this narrative.

Though it may not seem like this, I don’t think that Wildlife is a “bad movie”.  It’s not.  It’s just not anything special.  The story-line feels deflated and it is extremely dragged out.  All the performances are solid, but that’s not enough to bring life into this film.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wildlife is in theaters now.

Share