Madec (Michael Douglas) is a big time financial wizard who has rolled into a small town near the Mojave desert to hire a guide who will take him on a hunt for bighorn sheep. He is an obnoxious and selfish fellow who toys with Ben (Jeremy Irvine), the physically fit youth who, according to the town's sheriff (Ronny Cox), is "the best tracker in the state."
Think of the power and the gamesmanship involved in Medec's deal where he is poised to sell his company to a Chinese conglomerate for $140 million. Everything from bagging another animal for his trophy case to closing the deal of a lifetime is designed to prove that he is the winner, the top dog, the best in the business.
Medec drives a tank-sized Mercedes SUV that is equipped with everything he needs for luxurious living even while in the Mojave Desert. His young companion is a dirt-poor fellow living in a trailer and mourning the loss of his girlfriend (Hanna Mangan Lawrence), who has just headed off for college after unsuccessfully trying to convince him to come with her.
Armed with a high-powered assault rifle, Medec and Ben hunker down in the desert and wait for their prey. But the impatient multimillionaire shoots at something he sees move in the rocks. It turns out to be an elderly drifter who Ben knows. How does Medec handle this? First he offers Ben more money than he could ever expect to see in his life to keep silent about what happened.
But then the badass within him takes over, and he comes up with a cruel and sadistic plan to force his new adversary to strip down and make his way through the burning heat of the sun until he dies of dehydration. The intention here is to frame Ben for the murder.
Beyond the Reach is the English language film debut for French director Jean-Baptist Leonetti, and it comes across as a nifty little morality tale. When the sheriff tries to describe Medec to Ben he calls him "some kind of big shot." Not a bad sum-up. But the chief flaw of this kind of people is that they usually over-estimate their own abilities and under-estimate the talents and skills of others. The chief seduction of Beyond the Reach is watching a greedy, nasty, and self-absorbed rich man stumble and fall in his multiple quests for more glory.