Top critical review
Not Feeling It
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 25, 2021
Wander was a tough film for me to watch. One of the key reasons for this is because I absolutely hate the way it's shot. The constant hand held, shaky cam captures made the film feel like a dirt budget student film and the editing is so erratic and abrupt that I was constantly annoyed. My first attempt to watch Wander led to me yawning after 20 minutes, asleep in 30. Then there's the story. Hey, I like the misdirection used in the film and to be fair the ending does bring the film full circle in a manner of speaking. But by the time the end credits roll, the only thing the film says is the conspiracy theory isn't a theory, it's real and who cares?
If some shadowy government figures are conducting experiments and murdering people in Dirt Town USA you would think that they would be far more efficient and more thorough than needing a broken down retired investigator, on his meds pushing a conspiracy based podcast to clean up loose ends. The whole government cover up plan got laid low simply because Eckhart took photos. That's it. He had irrefutable receipts and took it further when he pulled the chip out of himself in the last scene. Total "Come on now" moment at the end when Eckhart is used as the patsy. It's like watching the entire run of the X-Files only to find out Mulder isn't a FBI agent, he's a janitor with delusions of grandeur, making up the entire alien conspiracy and Scully is his neighbor that's divorced and lonely. Entertaining Mulder because she can't decide if she wants to sleep with him or throw him off the roof. But at the very end, in the last scene you find out the aliens are real. It sucks.
Wander also has some notable actors and actresses presented within it. Aaron Eckhart made me a fan when he played Two Face in The Dark Knight. Why he wasn't allowed to continue that role is beyond me considering I liked him in the role more than Tommy Lee Jones (which should have been Billy Dee Williams, just sayin'). Did he not want it or is this just the result of more Hollywood stupidity? Tommy Lee Jones's body of work speaks for itself but I didn't really like him in this film. The writing of his character wasn't the best when the hints to indicate that his character wasn't who he said he was were about as subtle as a partner saying "we'll start slow" in the intro to kink part of their relationship but pulls out a baseball bat and KY. It was good seeing Heather Graham since the last time I saw her on camera was in From Hell with Depp, but her part didn't do much for me. Her character wasn't a huge part of the story, her screen time was limited and the writing is suspect at best. Still looks great in jeans though.
Katherine Winnick is also wasted here. I loved her in Vikings before I gave up on the series after being reminded that the Vikings really were annoying jerks constantly robbing other people's stuff. It's really annoying to have so much talent in a film like this. It's like having Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Durant in their prime on your squad but you decide to play broken, busted, NBA Live instead of a real game of basketball.
This all goes back to Wander just simply not being a good film. This makes sense when I looked up the past projects the director April Mullen worked on. She directed 88, with Katherine Isabelle and that project left me feeling like Katherine was wasted in a film that should have been better than it was. The same Katherine Isabelle that led in the awesome American Mary, co-led in Ginger Snaps (the original still being the best version in the series) and was in Insomnia which isn't the best Pacino film by a long shot (reminded me of Pacino in The Recruit, which sucked) but Robin Williams proved that he can play a fantastic and really creepy villain. Robin Williams, "sigh" the greats always leave us too soon but I digress.
2*. I can only recommend Wander if you're having trouble sleeping.