Wander Darkly: Film Review

Wander Darkly

Sienna Miller might not always be in the best projects but she can usually be relied upon to deliver a solid performance, and the latest example of that is Wander Darky – I loved her but I didn’t enjoy the film much at all.

Miller plays Adrienne, a sleep-deprived and frazzled new mum to a six-month-old girl named Ellie who has been nurturing a growing resentment towards her boyfriend Matteo (Diego Luna). In an effort to have some quality time together, they go on a date night, and in the middle of an argument, their car becomes involved in a collision. Adrienne wakes up in hospital looking over her bloodied body and becomes convinced she’s dead and living in some sort of purgatory state, even though her loved ones insist otherwise. To help her come to terms with what’s happening, Matteo suggests reliving key moments of their relationship, such as their first meeting and their first sexual encounter.

I could appreciate what writer/director Tara Miele was trying to do – make us feel Adrienne’s confused state after trauma – but the film just didn’t work for me. It jumps around far too much and you have no idea what’s truly happening. Is she dead? Is she not? Is he dead? How are they communicating? The film jumps from a scene of them reliving a memory to one based in the present and I struggled to make sense of it all. It comes to a clear and poignant ending but it’s a shame we had to wade through the hodgepodge of ambiguous scenes to get there.

There are parts that I appreciated – for example, the flashbacks change depending on who is telling the story and they bring their own present-day resentments to the memory. I found it interesting the way it depicts how two people can remember the same event so differently and how memories change. For example, when there is a fire in one of their apartments, Adrienne remembers Matteo leaving her alone to deal with it when in fact he momentarily disappeared to grab a fire extinguisher. These flashbacks serve the purpose of making Adrienne and Matteo remember how good their relationship once was and how they need to make an effort to get it back.

Miller really is amazing in this role. The confusion, the horror, the anger, the frustration – her face says it all – and she gives a very moving performance filled with raw emotion towards the end. She is the star of the show and has the much showier part, but Luna provides strong, reliable support.

Wander Darkly has some good ideas and an impressive central performance by Miller but was too messy and confusing for me.

On digital download from Monday 8th March

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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