Wasteland Rowan Athale
Published Sep 18, 2012Compared to Ocean's Eleven by first-time feature director Rowan Athale, scrappy and mostly redundant British crime film Wasteland is indeed a caper of sorts, only its build-up and payoff are far less palatable and remarkable than anything it could possibly be compared to.
Worse is that it features quite possibly the dullest hero ever captured in a film of this nature — a smug, floppy-haired hipster — droning on and on about a plan of revenge that could likely get all his supposed best friends killed.
Stepping back, the reason our protagonist with the fitted plaid shirt, Harvey (Luke Treadaway), is so pissed is that he was framed for a drug bust by local bad guy Steven (Neil Maskell) and subsequently did time.
Since the events surrounding his arrest are unnecessarily convoluted and partially nonsensical, as he describes them to police detective Inspector West (Timothy Spall) — in a familiar flashback confessional framing device, trying way too hard to reference The Usual Suspects — he too decides to come up with an over-the-top plan for revenge, with requisite musical montages and deliberately obscured motivators.
When with his handful of friends that plan to help him carry out this plan, which in itself is the sole excuse for this bland movie to exist, they mostly exchange banal dialogue laced with profanity in an effort to draw a broad idea of male bonding.
At no time are we made to care about any of the characters, even when Harvey spends quality time with his jaded girlfriend, Nicola (Vanessa Kirby), who tries to talk some sense into him, as is the standard for female characters in nonsense like this.
But being sensible or practical wouldn't be cool now, would it? Hipster Harvey merely exists as a vessel for the poseur underdog as prescribed by the existing formula. Had any part of the formula been negated or manipulated, it's possible that the overly stylized climax might have held some interest.
But, as it stands, it's impossible to care if they manage to pull off their robbery scheme without a snag. (Moli-Mischief Ltd.)