Wild, a Performance-Driven Drama
by Clay Bloodworth
When Wild opens, we know absolutely nothing about Reese Witherspoon’s character. From the first few minutes alone, you can tell this isn’t going to be a movie that spills the beans right away. The only thing the audience is aware of is her consistent determination to walk over 3,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. And as we follow her on this journey, we slowly get snippets of her past life that piece together her reason for doing this. In a sense, she’s purging herself of all the mistakes she’s made and the people she’s hurt (the most important being her ex-husband).
The best way I can describe it is Into the Wild with a woman. But a little less good. Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t a solid drama. I actually found Reese Witherspoon to be at the top of her game, this being one of the best performances she’s ever given. However, the movie itself didn’t exactly wow me. It has a bland tone that gets a tad old after a while and it certainly could have been trimmed down by about fifteen minutes.
I had similar problems with Dallas Buyers Club, the previous film from this director, and he’s obviously not learned from his mistakes in that right. But he does bring a more compelling story this time around. It’s not quite as bleak as Dallas Buyers Club, and feels a little more sincere. Some of the supporting actors are also able to fill in the gaps, my favorite being Thomas Sadoski as her former husband. It’s not an extraordinary movie, but certainly a well-crafted one. When you really get down to it, the reason to see this are the performances. Other than that, I could take it or leave it.