The Wanderers (2013) – By Misty Layne

The Wanderers hit my desk this month and after giving the dvd cover the once over, I was pretty convinced this wasn’t going to be my type of movie. Mind you, I didn’t say I thought it was going to be a bad one, just not my type. Here’s the blurb: A man with amnesia elicits the help of his estranged small town brother and an eccentric underground TV personality as he travels from Texas to Los Angeles to uncover his past. And here’s the story: Ben Meadows, visiting his home town in Texas for the first time in ten years, ends up in a coma following a car accident on the way home from his mother’s funeral. When Ben wakes from his condition, his doctors realize he is suffering from amnesia. Ben’s younger brother, Lee, takes him home to recover and it isn’t long before Ben begins piecing his memory back together. In a bid to regain his now-lost past, Ben convinces Lee to travel with him to Los Angeles, California in an effort to track down their estranged father. Once in LA, the two discover that their father is not the same person they were hoping to reconnect with and find themselves falling deeper and deeper into a crime world they don’t understand. In this gritty tale set in today’s urban LA, two brothers come to the realization that some things are better left in the past where they belong.

So was I right about it not being my type of flick? Nope, I was pretty wrong on that score. A mix between mafia-esque, Memento and a crime caper, this movie held enough to keep me interested (although individually the only one of those characteristics that would have held my interest would have been Memento). It definitely goes to prove the adage of “Don’t judge a DVD by its cover.” If you’re a fan of gritty family dramas and crime capers with a hint of WTF?, this is a definite must see. The story moved along at a great pace and never once felt too long. The relationship between the brothers was great and got even better as it went on. Layton Matthews as the younger brother, Lee, was my favorite and to me the stand out of the film. He had his out of place cowboy, just barely holding on to the anger and composure thing pretty down pat. Kudos definitely go out to him. He also wrote and directed the film so triple kudos for accomplishing that, very impressive.

I loved how this was shot – it had that trippy quality you typically see in drug soaked cinema (which this was not) but it worked with the sped up shots and the, at times, garish colors. The story worked as well, with a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming and an interesting premise. I’d go so far as to call this one of the more original films I’ve seen of late and it always makes me happy to say that.

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