Movie Review: Wild Mountain Thyme19th January 2021
I am not inflicted with the parasite or emotional damage necessary to conceive and create Wild Mountain Thyme, but I hope to find myself on such a level sooner rather than later. For the creative forces out there, who struggle to get their dutifully crafted art seen by a paying public, remind yourself that it is better to be the unknown master than the public fool. Such words of wisdom did not meet the disturbed, fascinating mind of John Patrick Stanley, who, after his success with Doubt a decade ago, has scribbled out his place in history, undoing his hard work and sensing he needed to divert his career down the avenue of morbid horrors.
He brings these horrors to the quaint, overcast countryside of Ireland, where headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) has her sights set on yet another heartthrob too attractive to own fields filled with potatoes, Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan). Much to the chagrin of audiences, we will never see ugly agronomists swanning through fields and searching for love. At best, they will be relegated to a sight cameo, spotted in the deep recesses of some bar, nursing a Guinness and thinking of the old days. As much a cliché that may be, it is more than Wild Mountain Thyme can offer. Opening with Christopher Walken, an Irish accent so poor it would put Brad Pitt in Snatch to shame, Wild Mountain Thyme shows it has no respect for its audience, and why should it?
Comical caricatures of Irish culture and heritage soon follow, in a bland tale that leaps from mundane to eccentric, offensively hilarious oddity rather suddenly. Another turgid example of Hollywood misrepresenting and failing to understand the intricate natures of a culture outside of Tinseltown. With Blunt and Dornan at the helm of it all, it does not surprise me that their performances are at least amicable. Jon Hamm and Walken also fare fairly well, despite the uncontrollably poor accents and relentlessly disgraced plot, they offer fine moments between them. A shame that, however great or gruelling their performances are, they fail to spin this disgracefully drab dialogue with any skill whatsoever. Writing plucked not from the pot of gold, but the pot of Lucky Charms, ironic, then, that the script lacks charm entirely.
Well-performed it may be, there is no way that Wild Mountain Thyme can ever excel when it has such odd shenanigans woven into its narrative. At its heart, I truly believe there is a good message to be found within, one that bodes well for those out there that will be distracted and convinced by the idea that they are unique. You are not, you will never bumble like a bee, nor will you ever flourish in a manner similar to a flower. Accept your fate, Dornan has channelled his inner honey bee, and his fate is to crushed under a wave of embarrassment. A just fate for a man who brought Fifty Shades of Grey to the often-cursed cinema screens, perhaps if he had channelled the flight of the bumblebee earlier in his career, he wouldn’t be where he is now.