Willy’s wife Ella (Monica Cabral) has disappeared, and he’s having a hard time coping. Unsure whether she left him for another man or met a more violent fate, Willy (Arturo Garcia) retreats to a cabin in the woods to clear his head. While out of town, he reconnects with Cal (writer/director Michael Walton), his abrasive best friend, who has more than a few opinions about Ella, and her potential whereabouts.
Michael Walton’s Reeds offers itself up as a psychological thriller with a mystery to solve. Willy’s time in the woods clears his head perhaps too well; confusion seems to be the safest place for his mind to reside, and maybe he doesn’t want to know exactly what became of his wife.
Though, of course, we are curious, even if we can start to guess early on precisely where this one is going. While the film harbors a twist or two, they are hinted at early and often enough. Even name-checking the films that handle these narrative similarities more fluidly would give away too much, so I’ll keep the comparisons quiet, but despite this film’s flavor of the familiar, it is still something we’ve seen done better before.
Which means, if you’re in this one for the mystery and reveals, you might be let down. Instead you’ll likely have to embrace other strengths, such as the film’s performances, which are sound, if not all that spectacular. The composition offers some interesting imagery, but the audio isn’t always up to snuff. The pacing is slow, and often the film enjoys Willy’s time in the frozen wilderness too much, stalling momentum. It does work to set the emotional scene, however; Willy is lost in the Winter of his own mind.
The ultimate truth is that Reeds is good enough to get through, but likely won’t inspire repeat viewings. If its moves hadn’t been so obvious, perhaps its ambiguities could’ve sustained more attention and offered more of a payoff. As is, the film neither dazzles or really disappoints. It’s middle ground, which is a tough place to land.
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