Wild Mountain Thyme delivers on its titular promise of a wild time but not in any way one might anticipate.
You know you are in for a bumpy ride when the film begins with a voiceover stating “Welcome to Ireland. My name’s Tony Reilly and I’m dead.” I mean if your narrator is not even going to hang around for the whole movie, why should you?
Based on writer/director John Patrick Shanley’s play, the story revolves around neighbouring farmers Anthony and Rosemary. Anthony (Jamie Dornan) is a man with… unconventional tastes and habits. His father is unwilling to pass the land to him unless he takes a wife. Something he believes he is cursed to never achieve. Even though his next door neighbour Rosemary (Emily Blunt) has been in unrequited love with him since they were children. When Anthony’s American cousin arrives with eyes on the farm and Rosemary, will that be enough for Anthony to finally spring into action? There is also a sub-plot involving gates.
Much will be made of the decision to cast Emily Blunt and Christopher Walken in two of the lead roles. Given that their attempts at an Oirish accent are about as successful as an “Irish” bar pouring a great pint of Guiness. It is a jarring decision when they could have cast actors like Saoirse Ronan and Brendan Gleeson for example. If the idea was to appeal to the US box office, Jon Hamm does his part in channeling Don Draper’s work ethic to market the film as a potential holiday destination instead.
The land dispute is meant to act as the deus ex machina to bring the star crossed lovers together. However when the two finally have it out, in a dialogue-laden scene that betrays its theatrical roots, the story drops a revelation that will send heads spinning off their axis. This reviewer had to rewind the screener to make sure he had heard it correctly.
It should stop the film dead in its tracks. Allow the characters and audience time to process it. Instead it simply shrugs its shoulders, says “alright then” and skips along to a supposedly warm, fuzzy ending. Meanwhile many will be left scratching their heads as the credits roll.
Wild Mountian Thyme is a cinematic oddity. A film completely devoid of (lucky) charms but simultaneously a must-see movie. Cult classic status awaits!
Wild Mountain Thyme is available on Video on Demand from April 30th.
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm, Christopher Walken
Runtime: 102 minutes