Review: Wild Mountain Thyme
What a truly bizarre film Wild Mountain Thyme is. The ending is so batshit that it feels like the surreal work of Luis Buñuel. I sat wondering if what a character reveals is meant to be literal or metaphoric and after rewatching the scene all signs point to literal. What leads up to is a sputtering romance drama that throws just about every Irish stereotype into its stew.
The film is written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, who wrote and received an Oscar for Moonstruck in 1988, was nominated for his film Doubt and is the mastermind behind the cult-favorite Joe vs the Volcano. It is baffling how he wrote this trite and ridiculous version of Irish countryside romance.
Early on the film is plagued by a terrible Irish accent from Christopher Walken. He declares in a borderline rude affectation, "My name is Tony Reilly. I'm dead." After some musings on Irish storytelling, the film jumps back in time before Tony died. He gives his son Anthony (Jamie Dornan) quite a shock when reveals he isn't sure about giving his son the farm when he dies. His reasoning is something to do with how Anthony looks. Anthony is clumsy and odd and not at all the marrying type. Tony wants him to marry.
Enter in girl next door Rosemary (Emily Blunt), Anthony's childhood best friend. Hell, his only friend other than a donkey who his practices his proposal on. Rosemary is funny, smart, beautiful, and can sing. It is hard to swallow that Anthony doesn't see any of this. Rosemary clearly loves him. Dornan struggles to have chemistry with Blunt. This makes it very hard to root for him, both the character and the performance are duds. When Adam (Jon Hamm), A New York money manager, comes into the picture looking for a wife, Anthony is forced to get it together. Wild Mountain Thyme suffers from so much before its WTF ending. There are major pacing issues, a total lack of chemistry between the leads, bad accents and a lack of stakes driving the film forward. The setting is beautiful but that only gets you so far. That final act is memorable but it is a long road there.