The past year has offered a couple of big surprises from actors-turned-directors; Jonah Hill's excellent work on Mid90s was almost as unexpected as Jon Krasinski's phenomenal A Quiet Place. Now comes Wildlife, based on the Richard Ford novel and directed by actor Paul Dano, and it's... well, let's just say it's no Mid90s or A Quiet Place. That's not to say Wildlife is bad, necessarily, as it carefully, patiently tells the story of Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) as she deals with an unpredictable husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) and an earnest son (Joe Brinson). Dano proves adept at capturing the story's setting, in chilly 1960 Montana, and just about every shot from cinematographer Diego García is beautiful. But the whole thing feels deflated and streeeeetched, with the story just kind of laying there—it all plays out about how you'd expect, and even watching Mulligan and Gyllenhaal carefully, skillfully reveal different facets of their characters isn't enough to make Wildlife feel alive.

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