Michael Douglas goes to the dark side, showing off his talents as a villain in the new thriller, Beyond The Reach. As I say in my video review above, however, this film may be ‘beyond the reach’ of hit status but nonetheless, it provides a nice showcase for the villainous talents of Douglas, who for my money never topped the evil he displayed in his Oscar-winning turn in 1987’s  Wall Street.

Deadline Review Badge Pete HammondDouglas plays Madec, a wealthy businessman looking to add to his trophy case by bagging a prized bighorn during a desert trek. He enlists a young tracker, Ben (Jeremy Irvine), to be his guide.

But when Madec accidentally kills an old prospector, Ben refuses to go along with his cover-up plans and dispose of the body. So Madec turns the tables on Ben, forces him to strip to his underwear and leaves him in the desert without food or water.

Suddenly Ben is the prey in a cat-and-mouse game with high stakes. For much of the film, Beyond The Reach becomes a two-hander between these two (there are twists, yes, but no spoilers here). The film actually is based on a decades-old young-adult novel called Deathwatch, and it feels dated, like something dredged up from the back shelves of a library.

Although not the same story, David Fincher 1997 film The Game, in which Douglas played another successful businessman in challenging circumstances, was a much more complex and interesting project. It’s easy to see why he was attracted to this story as he gets to go deep into his bad-boy side, always a cool trip for actors. Douglas does it well, and so does Irvine (War Horse), in a highly physical, gut-wrenching role.

Jean-Baptiste Leonetti directed. Stephen Susco adapted the script from Robb White’s book.  Douglas and  Robert Mitas produced.

Do you plan to see Beyond The Reach when it debuts this weekend? Watch my review and let us know what you think.