“And one for tomorrow…”
The stories of a crumbling relationship are nothing new to cinema. However, there’s something so compelling about the examination of a relationship through the eyes of one, or both people involved. Wander Darkly, takes that intriguing storyline, and pairs it with a tragic event in the couple’s life.
Wander Darkly tells the story of Matteo (Diego Luna) and Adrienne (Sienna Miller), a couple whose relationship is on the fringes of becoming extinct. There’s tension between them as they attend a get-together at a friend’s home. The party creates even more tension as they both leave in anger. And on their way home, in a sea of yelling, they’re involved in a car accident. Adrienne is rushed to the hospital with a major head wound. She’s unable to cope with the trauma of the accident as she now believes she’s dead. Matteo tries to convince Adrienne that she’s not dead, and believes that if he talks to her about the important moments of their life together, she will see that she is very much alive.
Sienna Miller’s performance is charged with emotion; her eyes are drenched with the fear and pain of what she’s going through. I find it rare that Miller gives so much of herself in her performances, but Wander Darkly gives her that vehicle to do so. She leads the movie in this winding story, as Adrienne is driven off course from scene to scene. Her mind begins to play tricks on her as she loses her grip on reality. Next to Adrienne is Matteo, played by Diego Luna. Luna exhibits his talents in this complex role. You’re left with scenes wondering if you’re supposed to root for or against him. Nevertheless, it’s Matteo helping Adrienne find her way out of the fog.
We find ourselves, as viewers, in a trance — much like how Adrienne is finding herself in the thick of it. Wander Darkly prides itself in telling this relationship through memories, but it often becomes boring and muddled. The story begins to go round and round as though you’re stuck on a ride, unable to get off. Though Miller and Luna have great individual performances, their chemistry together is often bland and hallow. The couple, in my opinion, and there may be some who adamantly disagree with me, remains disconnected both through their characters and acting. Even through anger you can usually find a connection between characters in a film, but something feels off when it comes to these two. It isn’t until nearly the end of the film that my heart finds itself being drawn to the couple.
Wander Darkly is an emotionally raw movie, but lacks that long–lasting effect after viewing it. In taking the time to let this film fully run through my system, I find that I’m rather indifferent to the experience as a whole. Yes, there are powerful performances, no one can deny that. It obviously displays Miller and Luna in some of their best roles. It’s the ending of the story that evokes the most emotion, but it’s almost too little too late.
Written & Directed by: Tara Miele
Starring: Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Beth Grant, Brett Rice, and Vanessa Bayer