“The people you love, they are the only people that can hurt you.”
When guys want some solace and away time from their spouses and loved ones, they sometimes go to the golf course. Sometimes they go to a man cave. If they are really well off, they go to a posh upscale loft. Five insanely successful friends Vincent (Karl Urban), Chris (James Marsden), Luke (Wentworth Miller), Marty (Eric Stonestreet), and Philip (Matthias Schoenaerts) share what is essentially an underground bunker (except it’s above sea level) in The Loft. Here, any getaways, fantasies, and infidelities are not just possible, they are encouraged.
All that is needed are keys, and only the five friends have possession of them. The loft is a welcome addition to their lives until one day a woman turns up dead in the secluded space. The questions and tensions begin to come to the forefront. The police cannot get involved, because everything will be lost if so. Who is the woman? Who let her in, or how did she get in? The only fact? With just five keys in existence, someone—maybe everyone—in the group is withholding information.
The Loft, to yours truly, is like an amalgamation of Wild Things with a hefty dash of the classic board game Clue. As of this writing, it currently sits at 0% on the ever-popular Rotten Tomatoes. Is it that horrid? Not to myself at least, but this is hardly an great entry into the thriller genre, either. Much worse can be found in the genre though.
Crazy enough, this movie is actually a remake of a 2008 movie known simply as Loft. Okay, that may not be crazy, but what sort of is happens to be that the exact same director is attached to both. Erik Van Looy does make a competent looking remake with a sort of glossy, metallic, and artificial feel, which does align with the tone of the movie. Still, nothing here overtly stands out as eye-popping.
With the premise of The Loft—jilted lovers, infidelity, and the high life—it isn’t hard to imagine an alternate universe where the story is carried out with a film noir approach. In this present universe however, the movie is carried out through a mix of flashbacks and returns to the present day. Though this may sound disjointed, it is actually fairly cohesive and does give some needed back-story. With that said, it does get repetitive, even comical to a point because they all happen in similar fashion. All of the flashbacks are initialized by some guy talking and then the camera focusing on him in close-up before jumping into it, or the camera closes in on one of the characters “attached” to the impending flashback while another guy talks for a few seconds before it.
For about a half, maybe two thirds, the film possesses solid pacing, a desire to see the mystery solved, and a nice steady reveal of its hand. But eventually, everything that can be thrown at the wall is done so in rapid succession. And “everything” just means an euphemism for twists. The twists are a mixed bag; none are WHOA that was good! but they are accepted, while others, the “grander” ones if you will, fail substantially for two reasons:
1. There are a tad too many of them, to the point that it may have been better to be more conventional.
2. There is little to no care as to what happens to these characters after the twists, whether big twists or small ones.
Two is the main reason why the twists carry little impact. No one here is written strongly enough to get invested in their well-being. All are spoiled douchebags and/or even monsters who care for little else than themselves and their pleasure. It isn’t a huge issue early on, but as the movie continues and the events begin to paint characters as fully bad or slightly-bad people, it is difficult to feel anything for them.
With that known, the actors who comprise the five buds generally perform at a respectable level, some stronger than others. Karl Urban is a favorite of yours truly, and the man needs more work. He is good here as the cool, composed, and arrogant de facto leader. It isn’t a particularly deep character (no one is here), but his role in particular is fun to watch. James Marsden is James Marsden, fine but sort of wooden here and there, and Matthias Schoenaerts, who appeared in the original, is one note because his role calls for it.
The real surprises/oddities are Wentworth Miller and Eric Stonestreet. Miller may not be terrible but the facial expressions and delivery of spoken word are a bit suspect, and Stonestreet, known for playing a gay man on Modern Family, is far from it here as an over-the-top male chauvinist. But again, no one here is written with a lot of depth, and that includes the females. They are either uptight black/brunette-haired spouses, or blonde sexpots.
Nothing about The Loft inspires a must-watch now in theaters, or a rewatch. But it is a halfway decent, somewhat entertaining whodunit. Lofty expectations need not apply here.
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