Plot: New parents Adrienne and Matteo are forced to reckon with trauma amidst their troubled relationship. They must revisit the memories of their past and unravel haunting truths in order to face their uncertain future.
Review: I knew nothing about Wander Darkly going in. I didn’t even know who the actors were, but something about the title of this movie pulled me in. And what started out as a straight forward drama about a young couple who has just had a baby and bought a home, but who seem completely wrong for each other, takes a turn into a surreal and deeply philosophical world when they are both involved in a horrific car accident.
As the blinding headlights hit the viewer’s screen, we are thrown headfirst into the shoes of Adrienne (Sienna Miller from Layer Cake/G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) as she hears herself pronounced dead and is seemingly experiencing her afterlife as she witnesses her funeral, her parents wanting to adopt her baby girl, and her boyfriend Mateo (Diego Luna from Rogue One/Netflix series Narcos: Mexico) apparently abandoning said daughter and disappearing from her life. You the viewing audience will once again think you have a grasp on what’s occurring here, that is until Mateo speaks directly to Adrienne, as does her parents and her best friend. Is she dead? Are the things she is seeing and experiencing real?
Wander Darkly takes a page or two from films such as Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Ghost, hell, even A Christmas Carol came to mind while I watched this film and tried to figure out just what the hell was happening. And therein lies the beauty and brilliance of this poignant look at memories and how our perceived recollection of events can affect not just the way we treat our loved ones, but the way we view ourselves as well.
If this sounds overly complicated, it isn’t. Well, at least it becomes less so as you watch this story unfold. Sienna Miller as Adrienne is remarkably good in this role. It’s not that she isn’t a gifted actress; it’s just the material here and the emotions that this character has to portray at any given time, while keeping you the viewer engaged and enthralled, is, in a word, daunting. Her co-star Diego Luna is no slouch either. He is a talented actor who I’ve enjoyed since first seeing him in Y tu Mama Tambien, and here as Mateo he’s the port in the storm (and sometimes the cause of it) as he tries to guide Adrienne to the truth of it all.
The visual representation here of how Adrienne and Mateo’s memories work is unlike anything I’ve seen before. They wander in and out of them, while reenacting and seemingly re-experiencing each scenario. Moments would change when they walk through a doorway, or look out a window, and it was actually quite brilliant because that’s really how our minds work. We tend to jump from one thought to another without any “fade to black” in between. There were also scenes built around Adrienne’s fears, and the way they were directed and paced were so unnerving you felt like you were the one being stalked by…well, I’ll just call it, something inevitable.
The passionate performances, tight direction by Tara Miele, and surreal yet emotionally gripping story of coming to terms with your mistakes and finding a way to heal your life along the way, is just a handful of the reasons you should see this movie. It was also refreshingly unique to watch what started as two somewhat generic characters turn into fully fleshed out people that will deeply root themselves in your mind and heart, as you take this journey into the unknown with them.
It’s not perfect but it most definitely lives up to its strange title, as you the viewer, will wander darkly with these characters who want nothing more, than to find their way to the light.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
For my review of Wild Mountain Thyme you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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