WakeField, Starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner – Movie Review

Sometimes life can just give you the urge to just want to walk away from it all and this is the premise of the new movie, Wakefield, starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner.

The movie asks the question, how would your friends and family cope in your absence if you did? Those questions and more are asked in the strikingly original Wakefield.

Successful suburbanite Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston; Breaking Bad, Power Rangers, Trumbo) takes a surprising detour from family life when it all starts to get too much: He vanishes without a trace. Hidden in the attic of his carriage house garage, surviving by scavenging at night, Howard secretly observes the lives of his wife, his children and his neighbours as they learn to live with his unexplained disappearance. But has he left his family, or has he left himself?

Bryan Cranston in Wakefield

Bryan Cranston in Wakefield (Signature Entertainment)

Wakefield is beautifully narrated by Cranston, as he spends the movie living in the attic above the garage watching life continue without him through the round attic window, all this is brought on when on the return home from work and the power outage causes him to work home, he remembers an argument he had that morning with his wife.

A Racoon causes him to enter the garage in the first place, the decision is made to disappear and the film continues with his narration and the use of some nicely timed flashback stories to show us that the relationship may not have been as wonderful as we may have first thought.

Bryan Cranston in Wakefield - Review on Blazing Minds

Bryan Cranston in Wakefield

The film is beautifully shot, with the darkness of the attic giving the feeling of the darkness that Wakefield is feeling during his time in there, then there is the change with the brighter colours and lit scenes of his family as they continue their lives, not knowing if he has run off with a new woman to the Bahamas or if he is dead!

Director, Robin Swicord, has certainly brought out the humour and talent that Cranston can bring across in his performances, from his narration to his comedic moments of hiding from view of the attic window, Swicord has brought us not only a film that has you thinking of you may do in Wakefield’s situation, but also one that looks and feels great.

'You bitch! Oh God, I wish I had a high powered rifle right now' - Howard WakefieldClick To Tweet

There is a moment when Wakefield’s mother-in-law is in the kitchen with his wife and the feeling that the two of them don’t get on well with other is nicely done as he says, “You bitch! Oh God, I wish I had a high powered rifle right now“.

During his time in the attic, he has to learn how to fend for himself, looking through the garbage for scraps of food, look out for the moment of a territorial stance with a down and out in the street by a dumpster.

A fraught meditation on marriage and identity, Wakefield features a tour de force performance from a never better Cranston in a film that won wide praise following its debut last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Based on a short story from the legendary American novelist E.L Doctorow and brought to the screen by acclaimed writer/director Robin Swicord (The Jane Austen Book Club, Memoirs Of A Geisha), Wakefield features supporting performances from Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyer’s Club, Juno), Beverley D’Angelo (Entourage, Cougar Town) and Jason O’Mara (The Good Wife, Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD), but make no mistake – this is Cranston’s film, featuring a truly towering performance from one of the most important actors working in film today.

Wakefield is out today on DVD.

Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds. She is also a Cinema reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn and at the many Cineworld screens, where she reviews the latest movies, she has also had several articles published in various publications. In 2015 she became an Award Winning Blogger and also has her website listed as one of the UK's Top 10 Film Blogs.
Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham