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Trailer for “Wildlife” showcases a stunning directorial debut by Paul Dano

It’s always a good sign when a film drops a Trailer almost six months in advance of its theatrical release. Having seen Wildlife, I can attest to it being one of the best movies of the year so far. The flick has played at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival as well as the Cannes Film Festival, stacking up on its bona fides. The directorial debut from Paul Dano has a ton going for it and could be a fall/winter awards contender. A Trailer recently debuted, highlighting a lot of what makes it so strong a work. You’ll be able to see it at the end of this article, but first…some discussion.

The film is an adaptation of the Richard Ford novel of the same name. A drama centered on the Brinson family, as seen through the eyes of teenager Joe (Ed Oxenbould). Watching his father Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and mother Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) go from happily married to nearly strangers, he experiences their pain. Jerry can’t seem to hold a job and is foolish about his pride, while Jeanette sees his shortcomings as no longer charming, the more she gets older. As their marriage dissolves, he also is growing up and coming of age, becoming protective of them both in very different ways. The plot is simple, but the mood is what really seeps through. This feels real, in all its messiness and pain. Dano co-writes the adaptation with Zoe Kazan and directs here. Also in the cast are Bill Camp, Zoe Margaret Colletti, Daryl Cox, Mollie Milligan, and more. Cinematography is by Diego García, while David Lang composed the score. Everyone involved is doing truly top notch work.

I’m a big fan of this movie. It’s powerful, quietly heartbreaking, and an accomplished debut as a filmmaker for Dano. His script with Kazan is easily one of the year’s best so far. Gyllenhaal is his normally great self, Mulligan has never been better, and Oxenbould is a wonderful audience surrogate. There are devastating moments in the film, but it never feels like overt melodrama. More, it’s Dano and Kazan adapting Ford’s novel to feel both cinematic and still deeply novelistic. You wouldn’t classify this as a feel good movie, but you will definitely feel as though you’ve seen something special.

Wildlife has a shot to be an Academy Award player. IFC Films will need to handle it properly, but it deserves the chance to be their baby. Campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Dano), Best Actor (for Oxenbould and possibly Gyllenhaal), Best Actress (for Mulligan), Best Supporting Actor (for Camp and/or Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actress (for Mulligan if she’s campaigned here instead), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Dano and Kazan) would be warranted. Interestingly, depending on how Gyllenhaal and Mulligan are classified, they could be potentially strong Supporting players. Mulligan certainly could go Lead though. That all remains to be seen. Suffice to say though, the work is good enough to contend.

You can see the Wildlife Trailer below, and expect to see plenty more about the flick in the months to come. Dano definitely has a future behind the camera if he chooses to have one. We’ve already known that Kazan was an ace writer, both from Ruby Sparks and also her stage work, but this cements her talent there as well. Without question, they make an excellent team. Give the Trailer a look, as it’ll almost certainly make you excited for this one. An awards season release looms for it on October 19th, and we’ll be there to cover, that’s for sure. Take a gander…

Here now is the Trailer for Wildlife:

Stay tuned for more on Wildlife between now and its fall release date of October 19th!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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