Wander – Solid Recommend

For the second time in a row, I find myself recommending a film about a guy who loses his daughter and in the aftermath goes a little off his rocker.  Do I have a type, or is this a trend?

From the wet and cold wilds of the Pacific Northwest, we now venture into the dry heat of a dying small Texas town, the eponymous Wander, TX.  Once again, our protagonist – this time played by Aaron Eckhart – goes a little further off his rocker, eschewing mere alcoholism to wallow in his new life as a full-blown paranoid conspiracy nut who is addicted to medication that causes him to see things that just ain’t so…or do they?

Eckhart’s broken hero, a former hero cop who lost his mojo when he couldn’t solve the mystery of who killed his daughter, is joined by a grinning and maniacal Tommy Lee Jones.  Together they run a low-budget late-night call-in radio show, with much of the funding provided by Eckhart’s sideline as a private investigator.

Convinced that his new case is closely related to the murder of his daughter, or maybe falling victim to his own psychoses, Eckhart’s character follows a trail of clues that lead him to a massive governmental conspiracy.  His closest friends naturally believe more in his mental illness than his insane theories, and so he finds himself fighting a battle against Leviathan all on his own.

So relatable.

The result is a great little movie filled with unexplainable moments, or perhaps we should say moments that are most easily explained away as our hero’s hallucinations.  But enough concrete evidence remains, and enough questions don’t have such easy answers, to make this film a mystery on two different levels.  On the one hand, you have the mystery that results from what we’re shown.  On the other hand, we have the mystery of how much of what we see can we really trust.  A lot of movies play too coy with the unreliable narrator, but this one walks the line close enough to heighten the suspense without ever sending the viewer off the cliff of “nothing we see matters or is real”.

It also features a great supporting cast who want the best for our hero for his sake rather than their own selfish reasons, and makes a few political statements that simply aren’t discussed in today’s media.  Nice touches there, they make for a nice change of pace from the usual clumsy messaging.

Would recommend and would watch again.

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