Movie Review: WAKEFIELD (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

WAKEFIELD is based on acclaimed author E.L. Doctorow’s short story. The movie was written and directed by Robin Swicord and stars Bryan CranstonJennifer GarnerIan Anthony DaleVictoria Bruno, Ellery Sprayberry, with Jason O’ Mara and Beverly D’Angelo.

Successful suburbanite commuter Howard Wakefield (Cranston) has taken a perverse detour from family life: He vanishes without a trace. Hidden in the attic of his garage, surviving by scavenging at night, he secretly observes the lives of his wife (Jennifer Garner) and children. But soon, he realizes that he has not left his family … he has left himself.

The movie follows Howard Wakefield, a successful New York City lawyer who appears to live a normal life with his normal family but one day he decides to put everything on hold and vanish. The thing is, there’s nothing really normal about Howard Wakefield. He walks away from his family and disappears into thin air (or in this case the attic) where he plays a creepy stalker game with his family. His wife and their two daughters think he’s left them and they’re completely unaware that he’s simply hiding out in the attic. It’s really an eerie situation when you think about it and you think someone would eventually catch him. As time passes on, Howard slowly loses himself and slowly transforms into someone completely unrecognizable. He lets himself go and turns into a scavenger of scraps and leftovers who prowls the streets at night. All it takes for Howard to finally snap out of this dark funk is when someone from his past re-enters his wife’s life. The thought of really losing her is too much for him to bare but is it too late for Howard?

Okay, I went into Wakefield really excited about it because I had heard some good things about it and the trailer got my attention from the get go. The movie itself is small because the majority of it takes place in or around the attic that the main character sets up shop in. It’s definitely a dark character study and Bryan Cranston does a great job with his character who also narrates much of the movie as his story plays out. There’s also some humor to go along with this interesting character who has it all but simply walks away from it for selfish reasons. During his self-imposed exile he retraces some of his steps in life that reveal that he hasn’t been the best friend or husband over the years so maybe he’s put himself in a lonely place that he actually deserves. Robin Swicord did a really good job capturing this intense, humorous and sometimes emotional performance by Bryan Cranston.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. Each disc also features some artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. The picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Wakefield ended up being this thought-provoking character study about this one man’s removal of himself from his own life. Who would do something like this to their loved ones? Well, there are people out there in this messed up world who are selfish enough or maybe so disillusioned that they would pull a stunt like this. But the even bigger queition is, who would take them back if they did something like this? In this man’s case, he simply wanted to see if he would be missed by his family and he took it all way too far. Robin Swicord did a really good job telling the story and bringing this small, dark world to life. Bryan Cranston was complimented by a great supporting cast (who didn’t have much to say) but it was definitely his one man show that gave this little movie its heart and soul. Wakefield releases on Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack on August 1st and is worth checking out.

Distributor: Shout! Factory and IFC Films

Run Time: 108 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

DVD Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features:

  • Theatrical Trailer (02:03)


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