I think it was disconcerting to have attractive charismatic movie stars playing people who are a little dopey with small frustrated lives. But given that premise, I loved watching the tiny details of how everything in their lives disintegrated bit by bit. He should've been squelching her passion instead forest fires and trying to stubbornly prove something about himself. There is a tough ambiguity in the fact that she became a real harpy as he was trying to do a good thing for the the wrong reasons. It definitely leaves the audience struggling for where their sympathies should lie. The kid is a little bit of a stand-in for the audience who is just as confused. It is also his coming-of-age story.
Bill Camp as the seducer is one of my favorite actors. He takes on big and small role in theater and film. I thought he was fabulous walking the edge between taking advantage of a situation and just being a complete asshole.
It's hard to relax in a movie where everybody is unlikable. But I loved acting, the silences, and the cinematography and the discomfort of inhabiting a world I don't know and having to judge these dubious characters w/o much guidance.
I prefer to squirm than to cheer; it's more like life.
Set in rural Montana in the 1960's, the movie tells of the inner struggles individually and as a family of the Brinsons. Subtle yet effective portrayal both by Jake and Carey, though Ed Oxenbould as the child caught in the middle more often than not stole the show.
FATHER CANT OPEN FEELINGS. MOTHER SNEAK DISSING.
BRUH TAKE CARE OF YO KIDS. WTF.
WHAT A HOE.
THE PORTRAYAL OF THAT ERA WAS REAL THO.
Dano's marital advice that keeps poking us until we nod in disbelief or belief, against all odds, works with good score. Without any quirkiness- as the films with such genre usually does- Dano has his vision sharp enough to cut through all the boredom or complaints there ever might be. And the credit has to and does go to Kazan and Dano himself, whose absorbing adaptation offers enough argument to relate to this flawed yet illuminating family.
More to it, the conversations no matter how pragmatic and cinematic, the awkward silence and the stillness pitched for a jarring effect, leaves the audience in awe of it. For obvious reasons, performance factors majorly especially a script written that speaks more from character's perspective. And to be honest, Gyllenhaal seems to feel short handed on filling these empty voids compared to Mulligan. Mulligan, the real deal of the film, the breadwinner of the family, has done a marvelous work on pulling off such a repellant character.
In Gyllenhaal's defense, he too has managed to stay on ground in his eerily not-so-likeable character. But this has always been Mulligan's game, since the first touch. From her make believe attitude to a self obsessed persona, she is offered an immense amount of room to flaunt in her skills which she delivers with a broad scary smile on the face. And stretching her muscles like never before, she can easily be the friendly guardian and the bitter taunting figure that never sees past herself. On the other hand, Gyllenhaal feels more comfortable in his initial stages where the gullible nature of his is cloaked aptly, but when it comes to scratch-to-hurt on screen, he fumbles in front of Mulligan's behemoth scary stature.
Oxenbould bodes well as the audience of this melodramatic act staged by his parents, figuring out the trajectory like us, he is convincingly good on his role of the bridge between this opposite natured stations. The film comes alive after the first act passes by, when Mulligan takes charge on the world with shady seducing intentions of attracting the glossier and flashier city in her life. Wisely, Dano never fabricates the mistakes as a pity on screen, his job to state the figures and facts is what keeps the tale perfectly balanced. The race to win, that our characters sprints for is certainly not against each other but the time itself.
Even though the tale is narrated through their kid, their nature to live once more without any strings is a brilliant idea to leave our host hanging in the mid-air along with our jaws dropped. The detour that the film takes by imputing a love interest from Mulligan could have easily gone wrong as an overstretched routine, but with a crisp tensed environment offered to it with a sense of uncertainty, leaves us wanting for more of the thrill. Dano's world is mundane but lopping off the manners, his arrogance is more than welcome in this Wildlife where the mania of fire is the least of our concerns.
After Jerry gets let go from the golf course for what seems like no fault of his own, Jeanette remains supportive. When they call the next day to off him his job back and he refuses to take it, some cracks begin to appear in her facade. But it's not until he says he's signed up to help fight some distant wildfires that Jeanette starts really losing her sh*t.
Apparently the family has done quite a bit of moving to chase Jerry's dreams which never seem to pan out, and the idea of him dragging them to Montana, only to run off on a high-risk, low-paying adventure is a bit too much for her.
With Jerry away, Joe becomes the man of the house, biking to the store to buy canned spaghetti and replacing the innards of a running toilet. And Jeannette becomes the teenager, acting impulsively, irrationally, and irresponsibly.
The movie is shown mostly through the eyes of Joe, who's forced to watch his mom behave in ways that no kid would ever want to see. I get how Jeannette might be angry at Jerry, but why would that make become so indifferent with respect to her son? Kid's going to need therapy is all I kept thinking.
Besides my incredulousness at Jeannette's overnight transformation, I was also thrown by the stilted-language staginess that seemed to creep in once things started going south. My mind kept wondering, "Is this really what people talked like in 1960?" before deciding the answer is no, probably not; it's what people talk like in plays.
This isn't a terrible movie. The acting is good, the kid does a credible job with his increasingly disturbed reaction shots, and it was something to do on a rainy day. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but there you have it.
(Incidentally, I have no idea why it's called "Wildlife" instead of "Wildfire" and my inferior reading skills didn't even pick up on this until I tried to post the review.)