Patrick Wilson. This under-appreciated actor labors consistently in film and television, in projects that are very good yet often quirky enough to end up under-seen. Moving quickly and gracefully from award-winning work in legitimate theater to one of the lead roles in the Mike Nichols-directed Angels in America for HBO, Wilson soon became a staple in the stable of highly accom-plished movie and TV actors.
ZIPPER "this year's Gone Girl." Hello? Because the two movies have nothing at all to do with each other, this sets up the viewer for an expectation that can never be met. On the back of the box, from the same critic, is plastered, "The grown -up thriller of the year," although the film is not a thriller at all. There's barely a thrill in it (though it contains one very well-executed sequence of suspense), nor, I suspect, was it the intention of co-writer (with Joel Viertel) and director, Mora Stephens, to give it many "thrills." This kind of marketing assures that the movie will be perceived as worse than it is by setting up certain expectations and then consistently trouncing them.
I began this film not knowing who had directed it. I just shoved the disc into my Blu-ray and began watching. Around halfway along I found myself wondering if it was not directed by a woman because the sympathy of the filmmaker seemed to be much more all-inclusive than in most male-directed movies I've seen. And the main interest of the writer/director appeared to be on how and why our "hero" keeps doing what he's doing.
Penelope Mitchell), during which Wilson's character goes from A to B to C (well, it's more like A to F to Z) in a single amazingly rich and disturbing scene that underscores just how strong an obsession it is that has this man in thrall.
Lena Headey (above and above) as Sam's wife (there's one scene here in which you'll peg this couple as just a few steps away from the one in the American version of House of Cards);
Ray Winstone, as a noted political journalist; and by Richard Dreyfuss (shown below) as a political king-maker and Dianna Agron (above, right) as one of those nubile and upwardly mobile interns. The political and moral machinations here are nothing new, but the interesting viewpoint Stephens brings, and the depth given by Wilson help the movie resonate.
Alchemy and running 112 minutes.