Advertisement
Movies

Review: ‘Wetlands’ is a detective thriller so amateur it’s criminal

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje portrays a disgraced detective on a last-chance posting in a desolate stretch of New Jersey waterfront, in the film "Wetlands."
(Abramorama)

Sodden with amateurishness, “Wetlands” attempts to turn Atlantic City in December into a noir nexus of drug-dealing surfers, struggling moms and broken cops, but instead merely claims a handful of good actors as unfortunate victims. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje glowers painfully as Babs, a disgraced, recovering-addict detective on a last-chance posting in a desolate stretch of New Jersey waterfront he once called home. (All we know, because it’s repeated incessantly, is something went down in Philly.) His new partner is a loutish drunk (Christopher McDonald) with a disillusioned anchorwoman (Jennifer Ehle) for a wife.

Obsessed with reconnecting with his teenage daughter (Celeste O’Connor), Babs sees trouble in his surf shop owner ex-wife (Heather Graham) hooking up with an unnamed surfer girl (Reyna de Courcy) who sells dope for a lowlife called Jimmy Coconuts (Louis Mustillo).

In fashionista-turned-filmmaker Emanuele Della Valle’s nonsensical screenplay, the embarrassing “tough” dialogue is somehow both needlessly oblique and glaringly obvious at the same time, leaving accomplished performers looking like motivation-challenged hostages waiting for the words “It’s a wrap.” There are occasionally atmospheric shots of depopulated boardwalks and streets, but the strain to give the visuals meaning becomes its own clue in the worst crime committed here: the killing of good storytelling.

-------------

Advertisement

‘Wetlands’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Playing: AMC Universal CityWalk 19

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

Advertisement

Movie Trailers

calendar@latimes.com


Newsletter
Only good movies

Get the Indie Focus newsletter, Mark Olsen's weekly guide to the world of cinema.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Advertisement