WILDLIFE

Part­ing shots…

Total Film - - Big Screen -

OUT 9 NOVEM­BER

As an ac­tor, Paul Dano ma­jors in con­vey­ing the fraught feel­ings be­neath pre­ci­sion-con­trolled fronts. A sim­i­lar grasp of con­tained emo­tion is sug­gested by his di­rect­ing de­but, crisply adapted from Richard Ford’s novel of mar­i­tal melt­down in ’60s Mon­tana.

The story un­folds via pho­tog­ra­pher’s ap­pren­tice Joe Brin­son (Ed Ox­en­bould), a teenager who watches re­servedly as par­ents Jeanette (Carey Mul­li­gan) and Jerry (Jake Gyl­len­haal) splin­ter over dad’s job crises. As Jerry sinks into gloom, Jeanette teaches swim­ming; when Jerry leaves home to fight fires, Jeanette’s sim­mer­ing frus­tra­tions ig­nite into an af­fair. Pleas­ingly, Gyl­len­haal never show­boats, let­ting his slumped shoul­ders tell Jerry’s tale; like­wise Mul­li­gan’s body lan­guage com­mu­ni­cates depths about a woman’s ea­ger­ness to burst.

Rather than forc­ing his emo­tional hand, Dano’s lin­ger­ing cam­era teases at the truths be­hind seem­ingly blank sur­faces; the ex­cel­lent Ox­en­bould’s un­demon­stra­tive ex­pres­sion, the Gre­gory Crewd­son-ish sub­ur­ban ex­te­ri­ors. True, Dano takes few risks, be­yond a faintly over-heated fire metaphor. But his han­dling of cast, char­ac­ter and com­po­si­tion shows a nat­u­ral di­rec­tor’s in­tu­ition, right down to the mar­riage of sur­face re­serve and un­der-the-skin emo­tion in the im­pec­ca­bly fo­cused fi­nal shot. Kevin Har­ley

THE VER­DICT

Dano’s slow-burn char­ac­ter piece sug­gests he could be fan­ning the di­rect­ing flames for the long haul.

the dis­cov­ery of the “mixed colours” wash­ing in­ci­dent didn’t help his mood… Cer­tifi­Cate 12A Di­reC­tor Paul Dano Star­ring Carey Mul­li­gan, Jake Gyl­len­haal, Ed Ox­en­bould SCreen­play Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan DiS­trib­u­tor Kalei­do­scope En­ter­tain­ment run­ning time 105 mins

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