*** out of ****
New on digital download services, such as iTunes and Amazon, is a new movie for rent, called All the Wilderness, which is far from perfect, but is still worth seeing if you take interest in coming-of-age stories. Its Portland, Oregon setting functions, not only as a setting for Terrence Malick-inspired aesthetics, but as a symbolic backdrop for a troubled mind, who wanders through all the urban decay and wooded areas the outskirts of Portland’s metro area can offer.
It’s centered on a troubled teen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), whose mother (Virginia Madsen) is sending him to a therapist (Danny DeVito) after the death of his father. The boy, unwilling to communicate with most people, except for claiming the supernatural ability to know when someone will die, sneaks out at night and explores the city, making unlikely friends.
I feel critical of some of the film’s eye-rolling winey teen clichés, but some of them seem kind of welcome, knowing the young audience this film wants. Regardless, it is quite emotional, considering its short 85-minute runtime. Its writer-director, Michael Johnson has made a decent debut film with enough eccentric details to leave a memorable impression for producers seeking competent directors with a voice.