Wildlife – Film Club Review

wildlifePaul Dano (There Will be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine) makes his directorial debut adapting the novel (of the same name) into a touching and complex portrait of a 1960s family.

Wildlife | M | Drama
A five-star rating
Director: Paul Dano
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould

A teenage boy must deal with his mother’s complicated response after his father temporarily abandons them to take a menial and dangerous job.

maliA five-star rating
Dano’s familiar personality shines through in this quiet, yet bold exploration of family life. While some of the screenplay falls a little short of expectations, it is the performances, particularly that of Mulligan, that truly carry this film. It’s certainly not a wild ride, but instead a melancholic – perhaps sentimental – portrait of family life.

abhiA five-star rating
Loved the cinematography and the scenery in this film. The story is average but the actors made it look like so real and appealing. Jake Gyllenhaal excels as usual while Carey Mulligan delivers a sucker punch and award worthy performance. The movie relies more on character study as the director never really reveals how the characters feel or think of each other and completely leaves it to the audience to decide. Thus, at the very end, the plot turns out very believable as the pain suffered by the three main characters unfolds into a well crafted message.

liamA five-star rating
It was ok. By the end I felt like there was an extra dimension missing, maybe a separate storyline or something. It is a very small story, and the protagonist, Joe, does a lot of looking and observing but not a lot else. I am guessing this is a result of being adapted from a novel, which probably has a lot more going on beneath the surface of Joe’s character that the film couldn’t find a way to express.

sallyA five-star rating
Overall I liked this film. I enjoyed the simplicity of the visual aspects – what I enjoyed most was how subtly the film sets the scene of the times. There’s no garish prop styling or novelty wardrobe items. Just elegant nuances to let the audience know that they’re watching a family in 1960s America. The actors gave well rounded performances despite there being no grand crescendo in the storyline. A nice film to watch on a lazy weekend afternoon. I’m looking forward to seeing Paul Dano evolve as a writer/director.

jennyA five-star rating
I was drawn to Dano’s meticulous framing of shots. He is very consistent with his stylistic choices. I like the use of static wide shots; these moments in the film evoke a sense of calmness, and contrast nicely with the chaotic backstory. I wanted to like this movie, but I was not engrossed in it. It’s not that I was expecting the film to be packed with gut-punch incidents. I wanted more from the story. Unfortunately, the character interactions were largely uninteresting and lacking depth. Wildlife would have benefited from additional shifts in perspectives to allow for a gradual unraveling of truth.



What did you think of Wildlife? We’d love to hear your thoughts! And make sure you stay up to date with the films so you can join in the conversation next fortnight.


And the next film is…

The Cloverfield Paradox | M | Science FictionSDC_2407362_2019-16-1--00-15-01
Director: Julius Onah
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl 

Orbiting Earth on the brink of a devastating energy war, scientists prepare to test a device that could provide unlimited power…or trap them in a terrifying alternate reality.