Beyond The Reach review

Mr Douglas was the best thing about the recent and distinctly average Ant-Man and he proves his worth again in this minor modern-day western as a millionaire businessman out to hunt some game in the New Mexico desert.

It's glorious to look at – the sunny vistas and craggy scenery do indeed remind one of the Western plains of classic oaters from years gone by. The sense of isolation is very well conveyed too as Douglas and his young guide (Irvine) embark on their journey, forming an awkward alliance from the get-go. It's most satisfying seeing these two disparate figures swallowed up by the vast and unwelcoming terrain, and the two performers play off each other with formidable skill. The desert heat really brings out the lines in Douglas' face now and he is a most forceful presence as we slowly get to see a more sadistic side to his nature. Irvine convinces too as he is shed of dignity, clothes and water trying to evade the older man's evil manipulations.

There's a pleasingly anachronistic air in seeing Douglas in his smart, stylish truck speaking on his mobile phone, and heating food via a microwave, in this classic Western setting while poor Irvine struggles with severe sunburn and suitable footwear as he attempts to keep far away from the slick marksman.

Unfortunately as the cat-and-mouse machinations take shape, credibility becomes ever more strained, and by the end one has sadly ceased to buy into the silly scenario. Great atmosphere but after the first 40 minutes or so it's a case of disappointingly diminishing returns. A word of praise though for Dickon Hinchliffe, who did the music – his effective score does provide the odd moment of tension or two. 

Beyond The Reach at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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