Wakefield | Bryan Cranston is a suburban castaway in flight from his own life

Wakefield Bryan Cranston
(Image credit: Gilles Mingasson)

What would your life be like without you?

Based on a short story by Ragtime author EL Doctorow, writer-director Robin Swicord's odd, fable-like drama Wakefield stars Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as a well-heeled suburban commuter who suddenly snaps.

One night, instead of returning to his lissome wife (Jennifer Garner) and their twin adolescent daughters, he hides out in the attic of his carriage house garage and begins spying on his abandoned family. As his distraught kin rebuild their lives over the coming months, he raids local garbage bins for supplies and keeps up his sour surveillance.

Yet his suburban castaway comes across as such a creep that it takes all of Cranston’s thespian wiles to keep us engaged. Even so, we never find ourselves sympathising with him or fathom what caused his crack-up. ‘I left myself', he tells himself, his sanity wavering. Not them. But as he swings between self-pity and cynicism, the nagging thought remains. His nearest and not-so dearest are well shot of him.

Certificate 15. Running time 104 mins. Director Robin Swicord

Wakefield debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on 27 January. Available on Blu-ay, DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.