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Rutger Hauer has Blade Runner money and Pam Grier should be doing just fine after Jackie Brown or even Foxy Brown, what are both of these two actors doing in this little project. While I hate to overuse the phrase that, "They just needed the paycheck", films like Wilder leave me no room for imagination or wonder. They had to just need some extra cash to spend with their children or pay their rent. Why would they attach their names to this film? From the opening credit sequence to the final moments that were meant to shake the bowels of justice in the comfort of your own home, Wilder proved that everything in-between was not as sweet as an Oreo cookie, but instead a murky lifeless substance that should have been left alone instead of released on DVD. There was nothing redeemable about this film. The sound was horrible, the acting seemed forced and honestly, non-existent, and the story was too big for its britches. Normally, I can ramble off at least one good element about the film that I just watched, but sadly, I cannot think of anything nice to say about Wilder. From the beginning it began imploding and falling apart at the edges, and it didn't stop until the final credits rolled.
The sound is a small, yet large element to a film. It gives us that extra punch in a finale, or an extra tear during a sad moment, or those dastardly violins that always seem to shrill whenever someone enters the room. Either way you see it, or hear it in this case, music pushes a film to a new level. So, when a film either chooses to use poor sound or no sound at all, you have to wonder why? Is it because the characters are the central focus and the silence symbolically adds to their meaning? Or is it because the production value was so low that Little Timmy from down the street was paid minimum wage to give a film oh, let's say Wilder a bit of noise in the background. I didn't hear music in this film, I heard recycled garbage going through the system. There was nothing prominent or distinguishable about the score of this film. Drunken monkeys with guitars could do better. It felt as if it was rushed together at the last moment, completely defacing an already troubled film.
I talk about the music first in this review because when the acting is poor, sometimes you can overcompensate with a decent score. That was not the case here. Since the sound was poor, I found myself listening to the actors longer than I should have. I have never witnessed a complete lack of emotion and care as I did with Hauer and Grier. They need to stop now and go down in the history books for what they have accomplished already, not erased from the books for what they are currently attaching their names to. Grier attempts hard to be that strong female lead character that teeters on feminism and violence to help her find the answer the she seeks. That is a tough concept, and Grier never gets it. She constantly goes in and out of character, giving us something new and fresh each scene that she does. There was no consistency, no solid character, no emotion at all. Grier read her lines and walked the paces and that was it. The same can be said for Hauer. He was even worse than Grier in the fact that his acting felt fake and directed. I am not supposed to be reminded by the actors that I am watching a movie, I want to be entertained. Take me to a place I have never been, not a reminder that I am on my couch in the middle of the night. If they were handing out imagination and enthusiasm at the beginning of this film, Grier and Hauer must have missed the bandwagon. They were horrible. You could just see the director's suggestions playing out in Grier's head, like counting out loud. While she was focusing on that, she completely missed her character. Finally, the chemistry between Hauer and Grier was one of the worst combinations Hollywood has created. They were never meant to be together and this film only proved it. It was obvious from the beginning that they were not happy to be together, and we were not happy to be spending two hours with them. On both parts, it was a match made in hell.
Poor sound, flimsy acting what else could go wrong? How about a story that literally made no sense. I am not one to completely knock the writing of another (well, maybe I am) because of the hard work someone had to put into the finished product, but in the case of Wilder it was nothing but disaster. Nothing worked, nothing made sense, the actors were being lead on a blind ghost chase that somehow forced a conclusion on us all by showing us details that we may have missed earlier because we were falling asleep. There were just too many avenues to cross in this film that did not have the budget to cross them all. I also think that this final cut lost some of the momentum in the final cut. You could tell scenes that just seemed spliced together because they were incoherent and jumbled. We were moving all over the screen like a chicken without a head. Thankfully the final credits were there to put us out of our misery.
Overall, this was bad. The overwhelming story with low budgeting lead to horrible acting and miscasting by both Grier and Hauer, which lead to some bad music vomiting from my speakers, which ultimately lead to a straight to DVD release of this film.
Grade: * out of *****
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