Wakefield : Movie Review

Wakefield (2016)
Title: Wakefield
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Garner
Director: Robin Swicord
Released: July 31st, 2017
Run time: 104 mins
Certificate: 15

Have you ever just wanted to walk away from it all? How would your friends and family cope in your absence if you did? Those questions and more are asked in the strikingly original Wakefield.

Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) returns home from work one evening and decides to hide out in the attic of his garage to watch his family to see what they do in his absence. But a day becomes a week and soon months have passed. He survives by eating food from his neighbours bins. His clothes are unwashed, his beard gets wilder and he goes a bit mad. Why has he given up his successful life? Will he be able to go back home and will his family accept him if he returns?

Cranston fully inhabits the role, no doubt relishing in the make up, long hair, crazy hobo-beard and dirty clothes that helped him to create this unique character. It’s almost like a big-screen version of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

Jennifer Garner is sadly wasted in the role of Wakefield’s wife, any actress would no doubt have filled the role, but this is only because Wakefield is quite simply a one-person show. Garner could have done no more, in fact acting mostly in silence can’t have been easy (we mostly see her from Wakefield’s point of view and cannot hear her - sometimes Wakefield voices her - slightly crazily). She has a thankless role but does well. Cranston of course is - beyond excellent. His performance is incredible, captivating, perfect. His rise from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad is astounding and now he’s the go-to actor for brilliant and interesting roles.

It’s a simple plot but asks so many questions, without giving all of the answers. It is expertly and tightly directed by Robin Swicord. Wakefield will leave audiences thinking deeply on the meaning of life, work and family. Wakefield is nothing quite like anything you’ve seen before. It’s riveting viewing and highly recommended.

Author : Kevin Stanley