It takes a lot these days to create a movie thriller that is somewhat original and fresh. There are so many well-worn set-ups that every so often, we need something slightly unusual to shake the genre up a bit. That may be what we have to look forward to with The Reach, which made an appearance at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and is now sealing a $2 million deal for the US distribution rights.
The film stars Michael Douglas as Madec – a high-profile corporate lawyer whose intimidating skill in the courtroom is matched by his cold precision as a hunter. Obtaining a rare permit to spend seven days hunting big game in the Mojave Desert, Madec hires the quiet, conservative young Ben (Jeremy Irvine) as a guide, but finds his retreat takes a turn for the darker when he accidentally shoots an innocent man and realizes Ben won’t be helping him cover it up.
The Reach is directed by Jean-Baptistes Leonetti, with a script by Stephen Susco (The Grudge) adapted from the 1972 novel Deathwatch, by Robb White. Author White – who wrote the films 13 Ghosts and House On Haunted Hill, among others – won the 1973 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery with the book, which was previously adapted in 1974 as a TV movie titled Savages, starring Andy Griffith.
Michael Douglas pulls double duty as both the star, and a producer on this independent movie, which will hopefully be heading for cinemas soon, courtesy of Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. The combination of an ‘alpha male’ Douglas setting his rifle sight on the much younger and less experienced Jeremy Irvine (The Railway Man) sets up an intriguing battle for survival, with some deeply questionable morality debates thrown in for good measure. This will definitely be one to track down once it gets a general release date.