Five close friends, all of them married, share a loft to meet their mistresses. One day they find the body of a young woman in the loft. Since there are only five keys to the loft, the five men begin to suspect each other of murder.
Erik Van Looy
Koen De Bouw,
Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot ... See full summary »
Having seen the original movie 'Loft' by Erik Van Looy (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926762/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1), I was hoping for a fresh take. But a fresh take is obviously not why they hired the same Van Looy to direct this version. This is essentially the same movie, just without subtitles.
In short, the building blocks of 'The Loft' are a set of plot twists. They are mostly silly, suffering from a few red herrings that hurt the story's credibility, but it's still entertaining to watch them unfold. Largely because the movie flows well for the most part, with only a few dull moments in the first half.
Although I preferred the exterior design of the original loft, the overall cinematography of 'The Loft' feels a little warmer and more comfortable. Only a little though, because the characters in it are stone cold. James Marsden is the warmest character in the frame, but like everybody else he doesn't get enough to work with to make for a convincing character that the audience can identify with. The characters are The Loft's biggest flaw (as they were in the original), which is especially disappointing since making you care about characters has often been a strong and successful focus in Bart de Pauw's earlier scripts. There are just too many of them, and as a consequence most of the dialog in the back story scenes is expositional and feels awkward. There's never an opportunity for development. The characters are just there to lead you from one twist to the next.
The overall acting suffers as a result. Strangely I felt that Rhona Mitra, with barely any screen time, delivers one of the better performances, with obvious anger below her coldness, yet just enough restrain. Wentworth Miller does what he does best. He doesn't seem to care much, but still feels like a good fit, even with the little information we get for his character. Matthias Schoenaerts' presence is undeniable. But as a guy who seems to be on edge pretty much all the time, his marriage seems plainly unlikely, and his past couldn't be revealed more clumsily. Still, he's a welcome contrast to the otherwise held back main cast. It's a pity that he was clearly suffering from sickness or fatigue in a few scenes, where it's blatantly obvious how much he had to strain his voice. It's arguably suiting his character, but it's still distracting.
The concept of this story lends itself to a much darker movie, and this just feels like a missed opportunity. I can't help but wonder how this would've worked as a film noir. You have five characters that could easily be despicable and instantly more interesting, and the women couldn't be more fatale. Of course, film noir doesn't sell anymore, so instead we get a bright and shiny thriller that doesn't thrill, that keeps you guessing, but doesn't make you ask questions. It deals with edgy themes, but it barely skims them and focuses on polish instead.
7/10. It's definitely an enjoyable watch, but only for people who're into the whole whodunit thing. Not if you're looking for anything more. It's successful at what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything else, but I can't help but sense the potential for something more.
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