Carrying on with our JI season, I had planned to rewatch War Horse and give you a review on that today. Until my friend turned up last night with this little beauty that I hadn't even heard of. So, expect War Horse later this week, along with Woman in Black 2.
Beyond the Reach can only be described as a strange movie. Its plotline isn't something that you would expect from a modern movie (2014). We have Jeremy as a young man sending his girlfriend off to college. She has asked him to go with her, but he wants to stay at home. Doing what he does, which is leading people into the desert while they go hunting. making sure they do not get lost or hurt. He is a small town boy (New Mexico), who (for now at least) is happy where he is even if it means not seeing his love for long periods of time. The exchange of a necklace and a gun make zero sense at the start of the movie, but the gun will make sense by the end of it.
After sending her off to her new future, Ben gets a call to take a rich man on a hunting trip. $1000 a day, it's a good job. Should be when it's a business tycoon (Michael Douglas as John Madec) with a half million dollar truck. The sheriff insists that Ben doesn't need to check the documents as he already has, which already makes you start to suspect something is fishy here. Ben isn't far behind our concerns, as the tycoon just starts randomly shooting at targets left out there and not bothering to pick up his shell cases. That is what the hired help is for! Madec insists he had hunting experience, even with his brand new gun and bad attitude. Ben has second thoughts about the trip, asking for a look at his permit. Receiving nothing but an offered wad of cash, which he reluctantly takes. It's money he sorely needs if he is to see his girlfriend again.
They sleep out for the night, to hunt in the morning. Ben is happy with a sleeping bag and a campfire meal against the tycoon and his espresso machine, microwave meals and modern comforts. Oh well, rich men and their toys! At least he is getting well paid to suffer this arrogant man. Who you can see he is already getting annoyed with.
The next day is the real problem, Madec shoots at something in the distance. When they go to collect the animal it turns out to be a man. One of the villagers who lives out here in the cave systems and even worse, a friend of Ben's. Freaking out Ben leaves his gun there to get the car, bringing it around. In the time he is gone, Madec thinks up a backup plan. Shooting the guy again with Ben's gun. Leading them into a complex game of how much does it cost for Ben's silence or does he risk everything to take his friend's body back to town?
Ben agrees at first to take the bribe but has second thoughts soon after. Leading Madec thinking of a story Ben had told him about a family getting lost in the desert. Not knowing which way to go, and dying in the 120-degree heat in a few hours. He makes Ben strip to nothing but his boxers, removing even his shoes before sending him out into the desert to die of exposure. Following him around, so he can take the body home or just kill him when he gets weak enough. Blame the whole thing on Ben being crazy, breaking down after losing his girlfriend. It becomes a game of cat and mouse as Ben does everything he can to find clothes, water and ways to survive.
My first thought on this plot, was how the hell does a rich spoilt brat think he can get one over a local who knows the terrain like the back of his hand? Being a guide, he is bound to know where to find simple things like water, shelter, and ways to survive even if he is barely dressed and exposed to the elements. Before deciding, well the dude is crazy so that explains everything.
Secondly, yes ladies. You have a vast amount of time in the film to admire Jeremy's shirtless form even if it is rather sunburnt. Even I wasn't immune to that interesting view.
Thirdly, how the hell is Jeremy standing up to one of the greatest and most experienced actors in the world in a one one one setting? At this point he has barely six credits on his IMDB, he should be drowning under the weight of trying to carry a role against someone so intimidating. Yet he isn't, he is standing up to him and in a number of scenes even outshining the older man's acting skills. It's impossible, yet he is pulling it off in every single shot. As much as I loved him in Stonewall and Fallen, Jeremy blew me away in this production. Casting him against such a seasoned actor in such an intimate production was a huge risk, pulled off perfectly.
I have no words to describe how fantastic Jeremy's acting was in this piece, I just bow down to his abilities. We have been too long without any talented new blood coming into the acting scene. No one that you can look at and say, oh that is the next Tom Cruise, or Harrison Ford or Tommy Lee Jones. Until now. Although he is collecting some serious roles, I find myself impatient to jump forward 5/10 years of his career when he stops being cast as 'the pretty boy' and is offered something which can stretch his range even further.
Not to forget the film itself, even with the odd plot is highly enjoyable. With enough twists to keep you paying attention to what is going on, trying to work out what his next stage of surviving should be. As well as having a refreshingly different type of ending to what you might expect.
Sarah Beth James