Beyond The Reach Movie Review by the Movie Slackers
Beyond The Reach hits theaters today and this is a decent, low budget film until the last act of the film. It won’t bother some but it bothered me because it showed the utter lack of faith writers and directors have in the viewing audience. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The film stars Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as Ben, a down on his luck Search and Rescue guide for a county in New Mexico. He has just seen his girlfriend drive off to college in Denver and is now alone. Depressed and looking to get out of the house he accepts a guide job for a Corporate tyrant, Madec (Michael Douglas) into the desert. From the get go, Ben does not like what he sees in Madec. Madec represents everything Ben is against. Madec’s idea of hunting is a little different. He shows up in a suped-up Mercedes SUV with an extended bed, added sleeping cab, and all of amenities of home; oven, Espresso machine, hi tech adjustable flood lights that could light up a town and such. Douglas is basically playing another variation of his Gordon Gekko character from 1987’s Wall Street. Think a psychotic Gekko with a specially made Austrian high powered rifle with scope. He is a dead shot, too.
When the trip goes horribly wrong, Ben finds himself without clothes (underpants remain, though) traversing the desert under the watchful eye of Madec. “I’m not gonna kill you, Ben. I’m just gonna watch you….” . Madec does not need to finish the sentence. We know what he is doing. A good portion of the film is a “Most Dangerous Game” themed premise. It is not a bad one, either. That is until the last act, in which the film breaks down into an implausible mess. Madec does something that I never bought. His character, most likely, would NEVER do the thing he does, as he is too smart to do something so dumb. Beyond The Reach degenerates into a predictable (almost), slasher flick in which the villain never seems to die.
It was good to see Douglas back on screen, after his much publicized battle with cancer. He is a legend, like his father, a joy to watch and is deliciously evil as Madec. I liked Jeremy Irvine as Ben, a working class hero and all around good person. He has a good heart and it comes through in his character. I was especially touched by the relationship Ben had with his girlfriend Laina (Hanna Mangan Lawrence). There are not many scenes they have together, but the ones they do have I believed they were in love and I found Hanna Mangan Lawrence to be positively radiant on screen. Their relationship is sweet and there is sincere guilt Ben has when he watches her drive off to college. I credit their poignant relationship with Stephen Susco’s script (based on Robb White’s novel “Deathwatch”). Why the film collapses in the final few minutes, displays the idea that filmmakers cannot trust the audience to think past a pat and predictable ending that we have seen countless times. It is disappointing, after this film had done such a good job setting everything else up.
Still, there is a lot to enjoy, here. Russel Carpenter’s cinematography is stunning and Dickon Hinchliffe’s score is particularly effective, throughout. The acting is solid and Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s direction is sure handed….that is until the climax. Being this is only his second feature length film, though, he shows real promise.
Beyond The Reach is not a bad film, but it’s breakdown in story telling puts it on the list of countless films that don’t think outside the box.
Beyond The Reach- rated R for language and violence
Run Time- 91 minutes