Director: Mora Stephens.
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Ray Winston, Richard Dreyfuss.
Released: DVD on 25th July 2016.
Reviewed By: Stu Laurie.
With Reckless (aka Zipper) Mora Stephens aims for a sexy, stylish infidelity thriller in the style of Unfaithful with the twisting and enthralling political plot of The Lives of Others, yet sadly the story never really reaches a satisfying climax despite some promising performances and writing along the way.
Reckless focuses on Patrick Wilson’s character Sam Ellis. Sam is a federal prosecutor who is on the cusp of a successful political career. He has a beautiful and strong wife in the form of Jeannie (Lena Headey) and a young son. Everything appears to be tied up into a neat box. That is until Sam meets an escort and he slips into the world of sex and deceit. As Sam sinks deeper into what appears to be developing into addiction his home life begins to unravel. When an investigative journalist starts to research an article into Sam it proves more and more difficult to hide his dirty little secret and gradually Sam’s home life, his public persona and his career are all threatened.
Reckless seems to rely heavy on the sex and scandal to draw in audiences, and whilst the sex scenes are relatively steamy the scandal is almost too easy to miss. The dark side of the political aspect of the story just never seems to go anywhere. At no point are the audience pulled to the edge of their seat and there are no real shocks involved. Not only that, but there is no real motivation for Sam to follow this path to the dark side. He has a clever, strong and sexually stimulating wife yet it is he who declines her advances and then goes to the escort agency. Whilst his motivations are touched upon in subsequent arguments with Jeannie there is never a satisfying conclusion or closure as to why he ended up in this mess.
The lack of stimulation from the film (sex scenes notwithstanding, though a fair few of them are standing) is in no small part down to the cardboard monotone of Patrick Wilson’s performance. Considering he is supposed to be this suave, successful lawyer with the gift of the gab and a personality to match he is decidedly forgettable. Headey portrays the ballsy supportive wife well and thankfully the character never falls into the usual ‘poor victim’ character. Instead she keeps her head does what she can to keep her family together whilst knowing full well she could survive on her own if she needs to. It is actually Sam who needs her, not the other way around and she knows that.
The most bizarre casting comes in the form of the journalist played by Ray Winstone. Whilst Headey has no problem providing a realistic American accent I am still unsure as to what Winstone was trying to achieve with his. This detracted from the dramatic presence his character was supposed to have and makes it difficult to attune to the character.
Reckless so desperately wants to be ‘Unfaithful’ or maybe a cinematic version of ‘House of Cards’ yet it simply fails to achieve it’s goal. Unlike the myriad of girls in the film it never reaches its climax and it leaves the audience wanting. However stylishly the film is shot and edited, those trite and banal clichés are ever present. The film may well keep audiences amused for a time, but the anti-climactic ending and the lackluster plot result in a disappointing finished product.
Reckless is out on DVD from 25th July.