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Beyond the Reach


Stars: Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Ronny Cox, Patricia Bethune, David Garver, Eddy Glenn Patterson, Jimmy Romano

Director: Jean-Baptiste Leonetti.

After sitting through this dire Z-feature thriller I was even more impressed by the amazing special effects in that made Michael Douglas credibly look half his (real) age in the flashback scenes. Here Douglas, playing a psychotic rich businessman, looks twice his age, possibly from having to read the screenplay and/or sit through the rushes and the final cut.

He has only himself to blame, however, since he also doubles as producer.

The setting is the Mohave desert where Douglas has hired Jeremy Irvine as his guide through the bleak, dried out Reach so that the millionaire can achieve his ambition to shoot a bighorn to add to his collection of hunting trophies.

Then everything goes badly pear-shaped. Douglas shoots too soon and a prospector is killed instead of the big beast. Douglas attempts to bribe the lad to help him cover up his crime but Irvine refuses.

BIG mistake! He ends up as Douglas’ quarry and has to fight to stay alive.

When the bleak locations, brightly photographed by Russell Carpenter, tend to be rather more interesting than what is happening with the characters, you know the film is expiring like a burst balloon.

The screenplay is chock-full of crass lines, character clichés and utterly boring exposition and gets direction to match from Jean-Baptiste Leonetti who possibly was so taken with the desert that he forgot to find a story worth telling – or a star who could help tell it.

Douglas is dreadful. His psycho killer is barely one-dimensional and pure – but sadly inedible – ham to boot. Being producer, he naturally seizes centre screen whenever possible: as actor, he should have objected, since as producer he would have surely done the right thing and asked for reshoot after reshoot.

Irving, at least, got the opportunity to run through the Mojave Desert with almost no clothes. It may not be acting, as we know it Jim, but it was patently hot stuff.

Unlike the film.

Perhaps, for his next production, Douglas could consider playing a dentist who goes out to shoot an African lion and actually achieves his ambition. At least, with a bit of luck and the concomitant publicity, he might just have a hit film.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Curzon. Colour.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 06 Aug 2015