A high-rolling corporate shark (Michael Douglas) and his impoverished young guide (Jeremy Irvine, War Horse) play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave desert, in this lean, mean cat-and-mouse thriller.
It's simple. Madec is rich. Ben isn't. Madec (Michael Douglas) hires Ben (Jeremy Irvine) to guide him on a hunting trip through the Mojave Desert. Madec shows up in a state-of-the-art, custom-built SUV and armed with an Austrian rifle that shoots more like a missile. He's a corporate shark and he's come to hunt.
Ben is an unformed young man who dreams of escaping his small town with his girlfriend (Hannah Mangan Lawrence). But Ben knows the desert and he needs money. Ben and Madec set out into the wilderness. And yes, bad things happen.
There's a delicious satisfaction in watching a thriller stripped down to its essentials. In adapting Robb White's novel Deathwatch, screenwriter Stephen Susco has crafted an efficient cat-and-mouse chase movie that delivers both the pleasures of the genre and also some very tasty surprises. French director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, who made the cult hit Carré Blanc, brings a lean European style to this most American of stories — American largely because of Michael Douglas.
Douglas has made an indelible mark playing iconic American men, from Wall Street's Gordon Gekko to the title character in The American President. In The Reach, he cranks that dominant-male persona up past alpha. His Madec is a consummate zero-sum strategist, whether doing billion-dollar deals on the phone with China or hunting down another human. Yet he may have met his match in Ben.
With its strong performances, visual design, and writing, The Reach is a classic battle of wits and ruthlessness. It's as beautifully sculpted as any Austrian rifle.