Wildlife, Paul Dano, USA, 2018, 104'
1960s’ Montana. A family at breaking point: Jerry has lost his job, his wife Jeanette wants her independence back, and their teenage son, Joe, witnesses the collapse of the security that he had enjoyed until then. Paul Dano’s directorial debut adapts one of the great North American novels of the last century: Wildlife (1990), by Richard Ford.
Screened at the Sundance Festival and at Cannes after receiving three nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards, Wildlife is a film with many classic elements: three sublime performances (Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan and Ed Oxenbould), direct drama and a highly subtle script. This is a film that gets back to the classic thread in Raymond Carver's book of short stories: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The film draws on the collective imagination around the ‘small’ North American domestic family tragedy: think back to Ang Lee’s Ice Storm (1997). It also evokes the classic film makers that helped build Hollywood: Sirk, Cukor, Laughton, Mankiewicz and Houston. And let's not forget an auteur who is much-loved in our city and who has been rewriting the concept of family cinema, particularly in the details and the humanism of the characters: Hirokazu Koreeda. In fact, Paul Dano cites the Japanese director as one of his influences.
This intense, every-day, alive, luminous and sad film points to the moment in which love and the “great dream” come to an end.