A modern day western with b-movie stylings, Beyond The Reach is the type of film I would have loved in my teens – mainly because I would have been more forgiving of its flaws.
A two-hander for the most part, it stars Michael Douglas as Madec – a rich business man and big game hunter – and Jeremy Irvine as Ben – the young tracker who is tasked to take Madec into the Majove desert, ‘beyond the reach’, in search of a new hunting trophy.
When there’s an accident and tradegy strikes, Madec must do everything in his power to ensure it doesn’t ruin an ongoing big business deal, and begins to persue Ben through the desert to try and silence him.
There’s a simplicity to Beyond The Reach that gives the film a refreshing, old school vibe. If you look close enough, the subtext of the corrupt wealthy’s seemingly bulletproof manipulation of the impoverished is there, and there’s an added sense of truth in its story with the hunting incident surrounding former Vice President, Dick Cheney, springing to mind.
The message is there only if you are looking really hard though, and Beyond The Reach is first and foremost a silly survival thriller with two excellent performances at its centre. Douglas is wonderful as the villain, returning somewhat to his sleazy but charismatic roles in films like Wall Street. Irvine has been better though and whilst he isn’t dreadful here, it’s hard to take him seriously as he runs through the desert in his pants, which feels like a Calvin Klein advert gone wrong.
Whilst entertaining, it’s completely throwaway and its final ten minutes – which feels distinctly like an add-on from audience feedback from test screening – will leave you baffled, despite being in keeping with its b-movie roots.
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