Parents' Guide to

Wander

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Bloody violence in off-the-rails paranoid thriller.

Movie R 2020 93 minutes
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This off-the-rails paranoid thriller is so untethered -- not helped by Eckhart's unpredictable, inconsistent performance -- that it's difficult to tell whether it's taking itself seriously. At certain times in Wander, Eckhart's Arthur recalls some of Nicolas Cage's loopier characters (he's frequently out of breath and wincing in pain); at other times, he lowers his chin and snarls and growls like Christian Bale's Batman. It's difficult to know whether he actually knows what he's doing or whether he's a disaster waiting to happen. It's also difficult to tell just how the other characters relate to him. As for one character who keeps popping up, Shelley (Heather Graham), we don't learn until near the end that she's his lawyer!

Wander purposely employs little holes in the storytelling, omitting crucial events and then explaining them later; this presumably is an attempt to build suspense, but it only builds annoyance and confusion. Director April Mullen spends a lot of time following behind Eckhart, staring at his back as Arthur investigates things, and most of the rest of the time on nauseatingly jerky hand-held camerawork. Meanwhile, Breaking Bad's Raymond Cruz has very little to do, and Jones mostly phones in his performance, but at least he adds a few moments of lightness. Overall, this movie is just screwy enough that it might amuse viewers who are caught in the right mood.

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