review by Bobby Blakey
Anytime you tell a story about a parent obsessed with revenge or trying to solve something involving their child you have the potential of a great flick. The latest, Wander features a great cast including Aaron Eckhart, Katheryn Winnick, Heather Graham, and Tommy Lee Jones. Could this mystery be one worth solving or will it burst before it delivers the answers?
Wander follows Arthur Bretnik, a paranoid private investigator with a troubled past. After Bretnik is hired to investigate a suspicious death in the town of Wander, he becomes convinced the case is linked to the same ‘conspiracy cover up’ that caused the death of his daughter. I must admit I had to start this movie a couple of times to really get into it. Not sure if it was just me or the slow pacing just wasn’t initially connecting for me. Thankfully once I stuck with it it find its footing and ended up being a pretty good flick despite some stumbles.
The film opens with a message about Native American land and the film being filmed there that I assumed was just to pay homage to it since it didn’t delve into much of that theme beyond. The opening sequence jumps right into the chaos with what appears to be a shooting, but nothing but a burning car and the person being supposedly shot as they try to run away. It sucks you right in visually, but then things slow way down for a bit. This is where the film struggles at times attempting an unbalanced artsy tone that is similar to films like Memento, but not quite as effective.
Eckhart and Jones are great here and give the film the elevation it needs to succeed more than it doesn’t. Eckhart’s Bretnik is unstable and his struggle to separate reality from his warped mind adds a strange element to the mix that keeps you guessing on to where they are heading and what is real and not. As it all unfolds it is Eckhart who carries the most weight of the film and does a great job. His unhinged performance is the reason this film delivers most of the time. As it progresses it does find its footing a bit in the third act as things are being revealed and still keep you guessing right up until the end and quite possibly beyond.
Decide for yourself and check out Wander available now on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment.