Writer/director John Herzfeld’s (15 Minutes, The Death and Life of Bobby Z) upcoming ensemble drama Reach Me now has a trailer, which is already drawing comparison (not necessarily of the positive type) to Paul Haggis’ Oscar-winning LA racial tensions drama Crash, for its ensemble cast and multiple overlapping character story threads. However, going by the initial footage, Herzfeld’s new project looks more like a mashup of multiple genre films, as opposed to a collection of individual plot lines that come together to form a cohesive whole.
Herzfeld’s Reach Me script, in a nutshell, centers around a group of people who are all linked together by their shared connection to a self-help book published by a mysterious, reclusive ex-professional football coach. The final section of the film’s trailer is dedicated to just listing off the many cast members; it’s quite the eclectic roster - counting such names as Kevin Connolly (Entourage), Danny Trejo (Machete Kills) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) among its numbers - though, it’s the movie’s biggest name cast members who get featured in the spotlight here.
As mentioned before, what’s curious is how disparate the Reach Me narrative threads feel, in the context of the trailer. For example, the Thomas Jane subplot seems to resemble a contemporary-set neo-Western; Kyra Sedgwick’s storyline has shades of a prison drama (call it Orange is the New Black: The Later Years); Sylvester Stallone’s scenes eventually give rise to some Rocky-esque inspirational monologuing; and, if that’s not enough, there are mobster, romance, and sports genre elements peppered throughout the rest of the preview footage.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong, per se, with a narrative that blends together so many genres, but thus far Reach Me appears to be more messy than innovative in its structure. It doesn’t help that the film’s production values have something of a cheap look to them, while the overall visual aesthetic seems pretty ordinary - with the trailer’s mood often falling closer to being hammy and melodramatic, rather than profound or impactful.
Maybe the actual movie will prove to be more successful at realizing what, to be fair, seems to be a pretty ambitious goal. For now, though, Reach Me doesn’t exactly come off as a memorable new addition to the list of dramas that’ve offered a kaleidoscopic perspective on the human experience (for recent examples, see Babel, Disconnect, etc.).
Reach Me opens in U.S. theaters on October 24th, 2014.