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Wander Review: It Is A Wired-For-Weirdness Thriller



Wander(Video On Demand)

Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Katheryn Winnick, Heather Graham\

Directed  by April Mullen

Rating: * ½ 

Canadian director April Mullen  made a shallow shocker  in  2016 Below Her Mouth, a film about lesbian lust that had critics booing her all the way to the blink.  Wander has opened to  far better reviews. Though I can’t say which is worse:  the  pseudo-sophisticated  sleaziness of  Below Her mouth or the noire pretensions  of this  thriller about an investigative  detective who is  far more unstable than this  wobbly film can ever be.

Wander opens  with a  car crash on  a dusty  highway. A  young woman stumbles  out of the shattered vehicle  bleeding and stumbling, and  soon she falls to the ground as a bullet comes flying at her.

Why stage  an elaborate road accident  only to have the survivor shot down? This kind of double shock is  in keeping with the  baggy character  of a film that doesn’t seem  to know its mind, whether  we should  go with the unreliable mind  or don’t mind  the  mind-numbing  funny business  in the  washed-out town of Wander  . 

Either way  we are the losers. The  film piles on  the  cryptic climate  like a global warning. But it all seems like a storm in a teacup at the end. The  very talented Australian actor  Aaron Eckhart is  cast  as  the   psycho-skidding  Arthur  . Invited to  investigate the murder  which opens  the  film Aaron soon finds himself unable to tell the  truth from imagination. 

Is what  Arthur seeing  and hearing really happening? Who the hell cares! We are told he has been this  way ever since  he lost his daughter in  an accident.  Now in his muddled mind, the  past catastrophe  and the current  crisis seem  to be yoked at  the hips like two Siamese who can’t see eye-to-eye.

 The narrative is filled with conspiratorial whispers and incriminating  gun shots. But  nothing is  as it seems. The  staggering edifice  comes crashing down as we are plunged into  a government conspiracy to  plant  chips into human beings . It’s all  too ambitious for its own good.And saddening to see  Aaron Eckhart struggling to make sense of his character’s disturbed  mind. It’s even sadder  to  see the very talented  Tommy Lee Jones, once a part  of some of America’s most important films, now  playing what seems to be Eckhart’s glorified sidekick. 

Some of us still remember Heather Graham for Urban Cowboy. Here she is just a puppet on  a g-string, swinging  from scene to scene in search of a world beyond stifled  screams.

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