Blu-ray Review: Wakefield

The movie theaters are now thrill rides. Everything is superheroes, animation aimed at kids, horror and over the top action. Dramatic films seemed isolated to December when they fight it out for Oscar voters. It’s a miracle when a movie ends without a character discovering their mutant power. Wakefield is a film about person who deals with people problems. Which is a pretty radical thing in a world where a poop emoji is at the top of the summer box office.

Howard Wakefield (Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston) is a successful lawyer in Manhattan. He’s getting burned out on his life of working in the city and commuting home to the expensive suburbs. Sure he’s married to Jennifer Garner (Alias) and has two kids. But he ponders (via voiceover) if there’s more to his life than this. He’s getting burned out. One night a blackout ruins his routine. He up passing out in the attic of the garage behind his house. After he wakes up, Wakefield doesn’t head into the house. He gets fixated on watching his wife and kids from the attic window. Even when they start to look for him, he doesn’t want to blow his cover. He wants to see what life is like without him. He wants to know so much about his family that he can’t grasp by being in the room with them. Wakefield doesn’t want to blow his cover so he sneaks out at night looking for food by dumpster diving. This leads to him having encounters with Tracey Walter (Repo Man), who is also surviving on the suburban streets. How far is Wakefield willing to go to escape his life without having to leave his house?

Wakefield is based on an E.L. Doctorow short story which works well since the film doesn’t seem like it’s trying to cram too many pages onto the screen. Cranston is allowed to let this tale evolve and not be condensed. It basically is a one man show since all is see from his perspective and voiceover. You can easily doubt his sanity as he goes from the highlife to fighting raccoons for food scraps. Has he mentally lost it? The film is reminiscent of Burt Lancaster’s The Swimmer without Cranston having to dive into any neighborhood pools.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the life in the upper class suburb. The attic garage isn’t so clean. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0. The mix is right for Cranston’s voiceovers and the action around him. The movie is subtitled.

DVD has the film and trailer.

Theatrical Trailer sells the idea of a man who wants to get away from the rat race without going away.

Shout! Factory presents Wakefield. Directed by: Robin Swicord . Screenplay by: Robin Swicord . Starring: Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Garner and Beverly D’Angelo. Running Time: 106 minutes. Rated: PG. Released: August 1, 2017.

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