In theatres, On Demand and iTunes this Friday from writer/director Frank Hall Green and Tandem Pictures comes a story of being “Wildlike.”
Mackenzie (Ella Purnell) is a young girl that needs family, just not her family. Her mother is having issues sending her to Juneau, Alaska to stay with her Uncle (Brian Geraghty). At first, Mackenzie is enjoying the relaxing time and the relationship she believes is happening with her uncle.
That is until Uncle has other ideas and in a moment of instinct – she runs! Trying to stay low, Mackenzie ducks and hides as she can. Once such place is a hotel room where she unexpectedly meets Rene Bartlett (Bruce Greenwood). Again she runs but realizes that to get back to her mother, Mackenzie needs help.
Meeting up again with Bartlett, the young girl works her way into discovering what his plans are. When Bartlett gets off the bus, so does Mackenzie and their journey together begins on the road to Denali.
With each step they take the truth becomes clearer.
Purnell as Mackenzie does an amazing job as a young woman losing her way because of disappointing adults. This is a difficult subject matter to portray yet Purnell invests every part of her ability to bring this character’s problems right in our faces. The difficulty for Mackenzie is seeing all adults as untrustworthy and the moment she let her guard down – is proven correct. There are moments that Purnell lets us in with the look of emptiness that comes from a damaged soul and the character of Mackenzie is just that.
Greenwood as Bartlett is clearly uncomfortable being forced to deal with the young girl for two reasons 1) she’s a young girl and 2) his alone time is interrupted. Although he seems standoffish toward Mackenzie, he slowly tries to understand her. Just as Mackenzie is a damaged soul trapped inside this young body, Bartlett is a man who understands all of that. Greenwood seems to separate himself from the young girl’s life yet … well, let’s just leave it at that.
It is hard to discuss Geraghty’s role in the film as Uncle because, let’s be honest, there isn’t a nice thing that can be said about this character. Geraghty’s boy-next-door looks only gets him so far and that is too far!
Shout out to Anne Dowd who continues to delight me with every performance she gives. This is a small role for her but I still loved seeing her be part of a film that is so very special.
Other cast include: Anne Dowd, Nolan Funk, Diane Farr, Teddy Smith, Tom Okamoto, Leo Grinberg and Joe Boxer the Brown Bear.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Wildlike” four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a brilliantly done film about a subject that is hard, at times, to put on film. This young girl goes through so much with her only survival – to run! The film is a full blown trust exercise by Mackenzie and without Bartlett it all would have failed badly.
The performances of Greenwood and Purcell are so intense and filled with emotions that do not need to be expressed with words. Both of these actors brought an understanding of their characters with their expressions and what they didn’t say. The ending is unexpected and brought my own emotional level up to almost teary eyed.
Having this story set with the backdrop of the mountains and open space forces these two characters to deal with one another and come clean when they really don’t want to. The cinematography is just breathtaking and yes I did give a shout out to the Joe the bear because he certainly made me jump!
The music brings such a serious depth to the film and it is a CD I would love to own. Not that the film needed companion music but I am thrilled they found this particular genre into the film.
The “Wildlike” has won over 30 Best Film Awards from such festivals as The Indie Gathering International Film Festival, Los Angeles CineFest, Oceanside Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival, New Jersey Film Festival, Hill County Film Festival, Myrtle Beach Film Festival and more. “Wildlike” has also won awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Ensemble Cast as well as New Filmmakers Award and all are well deserved.
In the end — they both discover the sanctuary of the last frontier.