February 21, 2015

All the Wilderness (2014)

All the Wilderness (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Michael Johnson
Country: USA

Movie Review: Michael Johnson shows assured skills as a filmmaker in his first feature-length film, “All the Wilderness”, a drama that promises more than actually delivers, but overcomes its main obstacles with an innocent sensibility and good performances from the young cast. In terms of plot, Johnson has to ponder if this is the kind of stories he wants to present in the future, especially considering that we’ve seen this so many times, knowing almost exactly every next step. It’s actually gorgeously shot and transpires accurately some feelings and emotional states, but the too obvious course of happenings, together with a hasty resolution, slightly dragged the film down. The plot is centered on the restless and maladjusted James Charm (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a solitary teenager who ruminates about his deceased father and what he told him regarding the wilderness: a place of wonder and fear, life and death, where each man has to cross it alone. Spending most of his time drawing dead animals or reading dark poetry, James has no friends and considers himself a cursed person. He drives his mother crazy with his weirdness, especially when he anticipates the date for his hamster to die, or even worse, telling another kid the date of his death. Vague hope relies on Dr. Pembry, a laidback psychiatrist played by Danny DeVito, but effective recovery comes from experiencing real life when he starts hanging out with Harmon, a wanderer piano player, and Val, a street cart vendor, with whom he falls in love. Not everything will be easy and disappointments are a reality, however they will make James descend to earth from his outer world. The film ends as it started, with James revisiting the wilderness, but this time with hope illuminating his mind and soul.

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