Wander Darkly Movie Review: A Decent Meditation on Love in the Afterlife

Wander Darkly follows Matteo (Diego Luna) and Adrienne (Sienna Miller), a couple whose relationship is on the rocks. Once they get into a fatal accident, they find themselves in limbo, revisiting past memories as they try to figure out where things went wrong and how they can move forward even if it might be impossible since they may not escape the limbo they’re in. 

Their dilemma makes Wander Darkly an interesting meditation on the importance of savoring each moment. Appreciate each moment we’re on this Earth, and the people in our lives, because our lives could be taken in an instant. Even if Matteo and Adrienne have struggled to remain compatible despite having a child, small moments including one where they go sailing and another where they physically consummate indicate a committed attempt to repair their broken love.

Additionally, both Diego Luna and Sienna Miller do a commendable job at selling their characters’ turbulent connection. As Matteo, Luna acts as the cool ice to the fire of Sienna Miller’s Adrienne, attempting to soothe her with reassurance and passion as she acts in constant panic over her predicament. Adrienne possesses a feeling of wariness as well as elation and despair. All of which Miller navigates seamlessly well in what is a strong showcase for a performer who remains badly underrated. 

Both actors act as the picture’s heart while the musical score by Alex Weston serves as its soul. As Adrienne and Matteo move from place to place, such as when they enter their daughter’s bedroom while walking across the halls of a church, the sublime score syncs in with the dreamlike yet melancholic atmosphere of Purgatory. Although the couple gets to relive peaceful moments from their time together, they still do so knowing they’re only residing in a memory before having to revisit the discomforting times of their past. 

Thanks to the gleaming cinematography by DP Carolina Costa, a light still gets to shine on our struggling couple whenever it’s needed before they’re forced to enter the analogical, and literal, darkness. It is those dark moments where both Luna and Miller get to be in fuller acting force, driving forward a narrative that often relies heavily on its concept. The idea of a couple being trapped in Purgatory as a way to mend their relationship is an intriguing allegory. Yet, given how Adrienne and Matteo don’t have proper arcs as they bounce from memory to memory, Wander Darkly becomes a tad too winding. 

That being said, writer/director Tara Miele proves she still has a keen eye for sci-fi thanks to the picture’s interesting concept and she’s terrific with actors since Diego Luna and Sienna Miller are a marvelous dual act. Along with the masterful cinematography and poetic score, they’re what brings Wander Darkly into the light.

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Matthew St.Clair

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