January 29, 2015

Wild life

Wild (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2014). Drug user and unfaithful wife Cheryl brands herself with a new surname (Strayed) and gets back to nature, with her walking as ordeal or punishment or a pilgrimage to a better self. Nature not city: “I’d rather be a forest than a street.” It’s not quite damning with faint praise to say that this is better than you expect any film about Reese Witherspoon taking a long walk alone to be, but she does bring a rare toughness to it and the editing (credited to Jean-Marc Vallee’s pseudonym John Mac McMurphy with Martin Pensa) does a fine job of mimicking the shape and feeling of persistent and painful memories. At times, this is almost visionary. The shooting is by Yves Belanger, who also lensed Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, to which Wild is a natural companion.