Suspenseful and often chilling the movie Beyond the Reach showcases Michael Douglas in a role that engages his signature performance. His cold and calculating character here may offer a few scenes of déjà vu for some, but it’s an acting treat you won’t want to miss. Together with up and coming actor Jeremy Irvine the two put on a cat-and-mouse show that’s so intense at times, I found myself on the edge of my seat. Take a ride into a rocky desert with this sizzling drama.
Ben (Jeremy Irvine), one of the best trackers in Arizona, and Elaina (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) his girlfriend have been living in a trailer on the edge of the Mojave Desert for some time. Having been accepted at a college in Denver however, Elaina feels she must take the opportunity and assures Ben she can keep the long distance relationship going in spite of a long absence. As she leaves the trailer Ben gets a call from Sheriff Rob (Ronny Cox) that he has a tracker job for him.
He walks into the police station and gets introduced to John Madec (Michael Douglas) one of the most powerful international businessmen. Madec’s intention is to take down a bighorn Sheep to fill the final space among the other big game trophies on his wall at home. Ben’s Leary about the trip since a bighorn is the rarest hunting license one can get for big game and it takes more than big money to get one. Sheriff Rob assures him that everything is in order and he’s set to go. When they arrive at a basin in the desert however, Ben insists on seeing the license. So begins a story steeped in suspense and driven by egotistical arrogance.
First time director Jean-Baptiste Léonetti gets a lucky break with the fine cast, nice script and an excellent cinematic crew. He paces his film well creating good characters and putting them in a tight situation that has little chance of a good outcome. To create the best mood for his man verses beast script, he pits the headstrong and heavily armed Madec against a strong willed deputy, both in the hellish setting of an unforgiving desert basin. His cameras roll closing in on his two subjects as the audience witnesses a terror hunt that continues to a devilish finale.
Even though you can see evidence of a small budget, Douglas holds back nothing creating his corrupt character in the vein of his Nicholas Van Orton in The Game. Cunning and diabolical he hunts for forbidden game then turns himself on a human target with relentless rage. Although getting up there in age, you’d never know it as he delivers a tough skinned performance in the heat of the desert with challenging surroundings. Not bad for a 70 year old.
Beyond the Reach has been rated R for some violence. It also contains a very gruesome scene of death. Not for the timid or those that are easily grossed out.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A well-acted and photographed film for suspense lovers. (C+)
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Ronny Cox, Hanna Mangan Lawrence
Directed by: Jean-Baptiste Léonetti
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Drama
MPAA Rating: R for some violence
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Distributed by: Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate