• Actor Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine) directs (his debut) and co-writes Wildlife.
  • Opens with a static camera of a Montana ranch (the entire film shot mostly on location in the pacific northwest) with father and son playing catch with the football

shot on location in Montana and the Pacific Northwest

  • It looks like the early 1960’s, Dano has an eye for details- period clothing, cars, advertising, wallpaper

Very observational – a great scene of Carey Mulligan’s Jeanette helping her son with his homework while her husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) finishes a beer and opens another

the destruction of a marriage through the observational eyes of the child

Dano and Gyllenhaal worked together in Prisoners (2013)- this is part of a really incredible stretch of films for Gyllenhaal– he made eight archiveable films from 2013-2019

  • The film is well acted, veteran Bill Camp is very good in support as well. One highlight is Mulligan’s uncomfortable laugh at the 10-minute mark when Gyllenhaal’s character tells her about getting fired from his job
  • Most scenes are static camera with no shot reverse shot for reactions—Dano does cheat a few times and moves the camera for big moments- like when the son sees Mulligan with another man, or the reveal at the bus stop

At the 11-minute mark, a nice fade edit as Gyllenhaal’s character watches the sunset—this film is about the collapse of a man, a family—writing like “I got this hum inside my head, I need to do something about it” and right alongside that you have “you too old to give your old man a kiss?”

A gorgeous cinematic painting at 46-minutes – Minas diner, another of Bill Camp’s dining room at 57-minutes

  • A grueling first-hand look at his mother (Mulligan) seducing a man other than his father

Dano clearly talented as a director- keen eye, the final image of the family posing together at the photography studio—the two beautiful actors look worn, bloodshot eyes

  • Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2018