Michael Douglas is in nasty-rich-guy mode in this thriller, about a hunting trip in the New Mexico desert that goes wrong. 2 stars
How many times has Michael Douglas played a nasty rich guy? Here, in the overheated desert thriller “Beyond the Reach,” he’s Madec, the sort of fellow who wears a natty blazer while hunting bighorn in the New Mexican desert. (Among the things he’s packed in his rich-guy SUV for the journey: an espresso machine, a martini shaker and a recliner.)
Madec has hired young tracker Ben (Jeremy Irvine) to be his guide, but things quickly go badly: A gun is fired, a random person is accidentally killed, and suddenly one of the characters starts behaving an awful lot like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” a movie which for some reason is on my mind right now. If only he had the hair.
Anyway, “Beyond the Reach” very quickly turns into a cat-and-mouse game and a tale of survival, with some fairly superhuman qualities demonstrated by both the hunter and hunted.
Movie Review ★★
‘Beyond the Reach,’ with Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Ronny Cox. Directed by Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, from a screenplay by Stephen Susco, based on the book “Deathwatch” by Robb White. 91 minutes. Rated R for some violence. Sundance Cinemas (21+).
Director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti does well in showing us how the shimmering heat becomes a character, generating its own noirish, oppressive mood. But he eventually runs out of atmosphere (at 91 minutes, the film feels long) and resorts to grotesque shots of foot injuries and a laughably bad ending. Ultimately, the take-away from “Beyond the Reach” is this: Don’t go into the desert with a guy in a blazer. Even if he offers you a martini.