Life & Culture

Film review: Wild Mountain Thyme

What were the film makers thinking, asks our critic



It’s hard to know what writer-director John Patrick Shanley was exactly aiming for in making Wild Mountain Thyme, but the film is sure to earn the prize for one of the strangest undertakings of the year so far. Starring Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan and Jon Hamm, the film is based on Outside Mullingar, a play by Shanley which had a short-lived run on Broadway in 2014.

It centres on a conflict which arises within an Irish family when their ailing patriarch (Christopher Walken) threatens to leave his farm to an American nephew (Jon Hamm at his obsequious best), instead of his own son Anthony (Jamie Dornan). Meanwhile, headstrong farmer Rosemary (Blunt), has been harbouring an unrequited love for the handsome Anthony for some years and is determined to make him fall for her.

It’s, to say the least, rather puzzling how or why so many talented people at the top of their acting game have found themselves attached to such a production. Aside from a completely baffling non-plot and the bizarre casting of Blunt as your average Irish country bumpkin, Wild Mountain Thyme is an anomaly whichever way you look at it.

Granted, the film’s saving grace has to be Stephen Goldblatt’s genuinely stunning cinematography which is unfortunately squandered on a film which is neither fish or fowl. Wild Mountain Thyme isn’t bonkers enough to gain “so bad it’s good” cult status, nor is it believable enough to be taken seriously.

The main issue however, is that at no time did I care about its characters, or believe in their predicament, and couldn’t give a toss whether these supposed star-crossed lovers were ever likely to end up with a happy ending.

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