Beyond the Reach’s one triumph is strikingly photogenic, if completely superficial. As Jeremy Irvine’s Ben runs, slinks, and sometimes crawls through the Mojave Desert in nothing but his undies, the dirt and dust of the environment, along with the brutally burning powers of the sun above, wondrously accentuate the actor’s lean, muscular torso. Meaning that Jean-Baptiste Léonetti’s film will primarily have value as an instruction manual for the makeup team on the 300 franchise. When Ben is charged with taking Michael Douglas’s slimy moneybags, Madec, out into the desert on a hunting trip, things begin innocently, though weirdly, from the hotshot Cali douchebag rattling off how expensive his shit is to pushing his good-ol’-boy companion to join him in an impromptu impersonation of Wall-E and Eva’s famous meet-cute. The odd couple shares a laugh, but their shared interest in the Pixar film isn’t enough for them to coolly deal with Madec’s accidental shooting and subsequent murder of a desert hobo, Charlie (Martin Palmer), with whom Ben shares a history. One thing dully leads to another, and after forcing Ben to take off his clothes and hightail it across the desert and toward a presumably sun-scorched and ultra-dehydrated death, Madec mostly lords outside his $500,000 gas-guzzling, espresso-making monster driving machine while uttering one-liners from the ’80s psycho-killer playbook. If all a movie needed was a boy with abs and a gun (or slingshot), then Beyond the Reach would be a masterpiece. But for its lazily obligatory resolution and cartoonish depiction of the ostensibly irreconcilable difference of the rich-poor divide, not to mention its clumsily aestheticized take on the resourceful Ben and smarmy Madec’s game of cat and mouse, all random zooms and occasionally scenic overheads, the film reveals itself as more lethal than sunstroke.
- Open Roads Films
- 95 min
- Jean-Baptiste Léonetti
- Stephen Susco
- Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Ronny Cox, Patricia Bethune, Martin Palmer, David Garver
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: