Loft (I) (2008)
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We see here assembled a who's who of Belgian stars, the dream team cast, even the smaller roles are given to top class actors (Jan Decleir). The film's lighter on it's feet than Van Looy's previous, we (on first sight) get to deal with far less tortured souls, which makes some room for humorous intervals, I fear a lot of these will get lost in translation.
As in all stories, but even more so in plot-driven thrillers, the end's the most important part. It delights me that they didn't choose a ridiculous, nonsensical ending as so much postmodern thrillers shamelessly do these days. I can't give anything away of course, but I for one didn't see it coming at all and yet it adds up when you replay previous scenes in your head.
Go see it, it merits national and international attention.
If you have a decent story to tell, there's a couple of tools one can use to involve the audience in this modern crime-mystery. The creators have carefully made use of a well proportioned amount of all sort of goodies at their disposal to make the movie captivating. It stings your interest, it bites your brainwaves and in a completely natural way it wakes up the hidden private detective in the spectators mind.
You're no longer watching the movie, you are in it yourself.
"Loft" is a well build-up whodunit-flick, both worth your money & your time.
And then there's a lot more... five men share a loft where they meet their fancy women (read mistresses), they all have different personalities and that's a lot to take in a movie, but they are so well pictured and so well drawn in the script(Bart De Pauw) that they all become our friends sooner or later. Then include the wives and the mistresses, it's a real challenge to think who DID it.
Apart from that and without giving out any clues, it's so well acted, and the LOFT where most of the scenes are shot feels like a tremendous dangerous being. The LOFT has an extra role in this movie, believe me.
This movie, as a good friend told me, is not "The Usual Suspects" but it's close... very close. I thought about this a lot and then I think of course it is not the Usual Suspects, nobody wants a remake of that movie.
Loft is different but you will like the characters, not one second bores you except maybe the knife combat which takes a bit too long.
I especially enjoyed the Düsseldorf bar and the Casino scene. Great cinematography.
For people who enjoyed this I recommend the movie "Shades" with Mickey Rourke, I preferred this one a lot more than The Alzheimer Affair. But then, that's me...
One of the first scenes bring to mind the opening sequence of 'Inside Man', a man dead on his feet grilled by two unrelenting policemen, he stammers a fogy story, a story that makes less and less sense with each new sentence uttered; the intrigues spreads through the audience, let the games begin!
The gorgeous stylized look captured my attention immediately, cinematographically 'Loft' without a doubt means a new high for production values in Belgian cinema. The exploration of the murder-site with the camera's eye (not during the initial discovery of the dead body but a handful of minutes later) astonishes, impossible angles, a sensually swinging camera, death and sex captured in a few seconds of film. The cool, modern design of the loft, and just the fact that we're dealing with a loft here, symbolizes the decadence, of which every character's guilty of, beautifully, and the coldness buried in most of the characters. Predictability can rapidly transform a promising thriller with tons of A-scenes to a B-film beyond redemption (the anti-metamorphosis of the butterfly; from near-godly winged creature back to fat caterpillar). Predictabillity and plot randomness.- what I like to name 'the Perfect Stranger phenomenon (arrange for multiple plausible endings as a result of the vagueness of the plot, and then choose the one that test audiences prefer). 'Loft' is neither! The script is sly en never insults the audience's intelligence. You can see head writer De Pauw spent a lot of time perfecting a diamond in the rough into a three carat one.
I personally prefer this more minimalistic (less locations, less movement in the scenes), more plot-driven film over Van Looy's previous. But naturally, this is anything but an insult for 'The Memory of a Killer'. Now let's get to the acting department. There's loads to admire on the silver screen, Filip Peeters gets the most substance to chew on, Bruno Vanden Broucke descends deep into his character, one that heavily contrasts with his usual type of character, only Koen De Bouw pales in comparison to his performance in 'The Memory of a Killer'. Again, this is not an insult, that performance easily ranks among the best of 2003. The part of Filip Willems (played Matthias Schoenaerts) interested me the least, but his presence is unavoidable (for the plot).
Now, the small shortage of psychological depth is a minor blemish, certainly because the believability of the plot exists only by the strength of the believability of the characters' motivations. A few extra scenes possibly could be of use to solve this problem, but more than likely would mean a loss of some tension.
My heart rate went up, adrenaline pumping, and those icy looks of Bruno Vanden Broucke will not soon fade from memory...
When looking through, it soon becomes clear that 'Loft' is a very good film. First of all, this thriller has an ingenious plot that keeps you on the tip of your seat from beginning to end. Considerable value is added by the play of an impressive number of Belgium's greatest actors and actresses. 'Loft's picturing is adequate at least, too, supporting its plot rightly by creating a tense mood.
Also pretty characteristic for this film is its very Belgian pace. Relaxed and unhurried, it allows you a fair amount of time to follow all its twists & turns.
The 100% Belgian 'Loft' no doubt will rank among the great films from the Low Countries. It certainly stands out in all their releases from the last ten years.
Good story, maybe a little bit over the top, but then again, you go to the movies to be surprised. And i was surprised. Belgian movie making budgets aren't big so what's achieved here is top notch. Bart, well written and Eric well directed. Also , the actors are very well casted, especially Filip Peeters, gave a very good impression. The only part where i was a little part disappointed is the part played by Veerle Baetens. I thought it was the only part where the script failed in the sense that it dropped the pace of the movie a little bit.
Overall, very well done. So therefore, my com(ple)ments.
For me that is, the tension that is built holds up from the very start until the end. And I'm pretty sure there will be an American Remake of this movie anytime soon. And when they'll do a remake, they can't actually do anything wrong (it's almost impossible messing this up), because the movie is just top notch. Unfortunately most people will only have a chance to watch it at home, although this deserves to be seen on the big screen. Look out for it, if you like intelligent and tension filled thrillers that keep you guessing until the end ...
There's been a lot comparing with "The Usual Suspects", and I can get the point: the interrogation filled with flashbacks, the witty and clever plot and the unexpected end, when you believe all was solved. Still, these two movies are completely different. Someone who goes to "Loft" expecting to see "The Usual Suspects" will be disappointed, and that is not meant as a criticism. Simply, Loft stands on its own and apart from what I wrote above, has little to do with "The Usual Suspects". But someone who enjoyed Suspects (and Memento for that matter) will certainly like Loft.
This exclusive sort of club includes Stevens, and his yuppie comrades. Only one of the friends is a bachelor, but that soon will change when he marries a wealthy heiress. The men are all married, although not too happily, as it turns out. The friendship among all these men are put to a test when a woman is found dead on the huge bed that dominates the apartment. All of them are in some way connected. The truth about the slaying comes out as all the men are questioned by the police. Anyone of this group could have committed the crime, yet nothing is clear in the narrative until the surprise ending.
Eric Von Looy, the director of "Loft" has explored the kind of people at the center of the film before with his "Yuppies". This new venture proves Mr. Von Looy is a director with a great visual style in the way he presents the story about loyalty and betrayal. This film should be seen by a wider audience. We were lucky to have found a copy of this Belgian film, but we don't think it had a commercial run that we know of.
The director gets great acting from all the principals, Koen De Bouw, Filip Peeters, Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruno Vanden Broucken, and Koen De Graeve are all excellent as the friends that share the loft. Veerle Baetens is fine as well as Ann. Marie Vinck, who plays Sarah Delporte, impressed with her take on her character.
Of course, Mr. Von Looy was lucky in working with the fine Danny Elsen, a good cameraman that captures all the nuances of the action in vivid detail. Wolfman De Marco's contributed the soundtrack that plays well with the narrative. We shall be looking forward the next project of this talented director, and so will be the lucky viewers of his films.
10 thumbs up for brilliant directing from Erik Van Looy, who proves himself once more as one of Belgians greatest directors! And let's not forget about the wonderful screenplay written down by Bart De Pauw, to whom i've been a fan of since "Buiten de Zone".
Everyone already knows the setting of 'Loft'... 5 guys share a loft to bring their mistresses to without their wives knowing. But like all happy songs, this doesn't last long. Pop quiz hotshot, what would you do if you find a dead woman in the loft one morning ?? What would you do ?
I'm not giving anything away about this movie, cause this would ruin the experience... but I'll just say that you will be amazed about the ingenious plot turns that this movie takes... you think one think, it goes another way , etc.
The reminds very much of "The Usual Suspects" in a way, and it deserves this praise!
Of course, for Belgian standards, this is top of the line cinema. You cannot go any better than this. Overall it's a lot better than Erik Van Looy's previous movie : 'De Zaak Alzheimer' although here you don't have the acting one man show that 'Jan Decleir' gave in that one.
Matthias Schoenaerts and Bruno Vanden Broucke show their talent in this one, as does Filip Peeters.
If go for International standards, this is still one of the better movies that you can go see in the theater. But for it to be totally perfect, it does has some flaws.. which are, realism.. some things happen so fast that don't think it's realistic anymore. Sometimes the acting is a bit off, but that negligible...
Overall, this is a great a movie and hope it will make the trip abroad to the states or what not, so it can be acknowledged by everyone !!
Let's face it: Loft is a run-of-the-mill thriller. Not bad, but not excellent. It looks very stylish, and that is perhaps also the problem: apart from style, there is not much else. The whodunit-story is OK, but twists and turns just a little bit too much for my taste. The acting is all right, but not world-class. The cinematography is good, but not imaginative. The characters are flat - we don't know why they do what they do.
The movie lacks a little bit extra that could have made it really good. There is no theme, no emotion, no message. There are no scenes that stand out. Not one single scene makes you cry, shiver or laugh. That's OK - you can't expect every movie to do that. Loft is good, but not great.
"Loft" tells the story of five male friends who each have a key to plush penthouse loft in a snazzy apartment complex. They use this loft to consummate illicit romantic affairs away from the prying eyes of their wives. But one day, their neat little arrangement gets a wrench thrown into it. A dead girl was found handcuffed to the bed one night. So the movie delves into the cover-ups, lurid secrets and double-crossing that are revealed as the friends try to extricate themselves from their tight situation.
The look of the movie is very stylish, very Hollywood-like. This is the same loft we see in American movies like "Sliver" or "Basic Instinct". Same is true with the editing, music and cinematography. However, I felt that the scriptwriter tended to over-reach towards the ending. The plot could have already ended neatly, but still he decided to push for another one, making matters too convoluted.
Overall, this movie is good to watch, exciting and tense as it went along. But do not try to analyze too much watching it, as this would cause you to discover a lot of questions about the plot and its various holes, especially when it comes to the sequence of events.
i truly recommend even for those of you who don't understand a word of dutch (like 99,97% of the world population :p ) but it is truly a magnificent film
As in many other murder mysteries, one of the themes here is that NO ONE can be trusted. Another is that nothing is absolute. It may even remind you of Rashomon in a way
I especially enjoyed the lighting and set locations, and I won't forget Flip's naughty looks at his wedding when he is presented with his key! if I am not mistaken he's the one that says: "now we must look for someone to take to the loft!"
the film has a well-developed plot. Every piece of it seems to fit into the other well, but by this I don't mean that we can't find holes. with all those short cuts, The film moves so fast that at some points, you may not even have the time to think about the plot itself!! and maybe that's one of the reasons that most of the viewers praise the plot. In fact, it has so many details that a week after watching the film, you will probably forget half of them and what you will remember of it is the feeling of thrill that made you enjoy it. Now that I think about it, I understand how those friends lost trust in each other, but I don't know why they trusted each other in the first place!
And I should also admit that the ending did not satisfy me as it did not match the dynamic plot of the film But overall, I enjoyed the film and look forward to learning more about Belgian cinema
Most of the movie is spent illustrating a version of the upper strata life that caters to the Flemish inferiority syndrome. Resplendent garden parties, model-studded casinos, incredibly hip interiors, expensive call girls and shady business trips mix to create a capitalist version of the good life.
Against this background five friends shout their way through meaningless affairs, plotting and counter-plotting. There's no time for character to show, let alone develop. Few of the characters are really likable; the men are sexist bastards save for a repressed slob, the women in the plot get little screen time and spend that being sex objects or sharp-tongued hags of wives.
In short, the movie piles on the clichés, and so it's exhaustive location scouting delivers the death-stroke. A little bit of grime might have saved this movie. Instead it's magazine people living in a magazine world.
All of which give 'Loft' its light and shade. With the story told out of sequence, we flit back and forth across the lives of the five men, the choices they made leading to their current predicament, and the way in which they deluded themselves so as to justify their actions. The placing of the murder inquiry in the pre-credits teaser makes it clear that the slaves of lustful extracurricular activity cannot escape their fate, but the real intrigue lies in precisely how the drama plays out and whether or not the man sitting in the interrogation room really deserves to be there. The out-of-sequence intersections spanning several months add layers of deceit – both within the group, not so tightly-knit as they try to believe, and to all who come within their orbit. The grotesque parody of civilization held together by expensive suits and champagne cannot disguise the descent into carnal imprisonment.
Indeed, if grotesquerie is ultimately the point of the film, then 'Loft' succeeds with flying colours, for I found myself struggling to sympathise, let alone care about any of the poor fools and the fact that their clandestine infidelity had at last come to haunt them. I certainly can't fault a single character on the grounds that he is depicted unrealistically, for the overconfident Lotharios before the camera will easily remind any viewer of the expert seducers we've all met at some point whose undisputed skill at drawing women to them like moths to a flame is matched only by their deep vainglorious neglect of empathy. If redemption is on the cards, 'Loft' is not concerned with winning the audience over to their side and in the end, this is my biggest problem with it – not a desire for some tired, shoehorned play for morality before the end credits as Hollywood typically insists so as to keep the audience's fantasy of human virtue intact, but simply the fact that in human drama, a cast of unlikable characters is the true act of murder for the audience, their empathy dead and buried for the duration of a film that demands two hours of attention.
Doubtless, there are many fans of the modern crime thriller who revel in the self-destructive anti-hero, seeing him or her as the truly honest figure driven to be nothing more than earnestly human in an uncompromising world. The fun lies in watching their raw emotion explode onto the screen in a celebration of chaos and drama. Perhaps 'Loft' has simply failed to bring out the best of this premise. I admit to not being a devotee of crime fiction and my Tarantino is rusty.
There is still the mystery element, however, and in that arena, 'Loft' is compelling. As we peel the layers from our five anti-heroes, so the plot shifts and twists as expertly as the men themselves wriggle through their double-lives. Revelation follows revelation, and the final sequence is almost amusingly that last desperate attempt to redeem those still battling their consciences. Remorse sails in like a charging cavalry whose alarm clocks failed to sound on time. It feels tacked on as a last desperate twist, yet given what carnal descent into hell writer Bart de Pauw has presented beforehand, better to let the film remain in that melancholy storm of Dante's second circle where it can at least stand with its own self-prescribed dignity.
Of director Erik Van Looy, I would praise his creation of a suitably dark and forebodingly-lit story. The cold light of day has no place here and Looy confines his characters to the shadowy realms in which they belong, and yet one of the stand-out scenes takes place at a daytime wedding where the men's egos are in full flight. He also chooses a fine cast, from the confident presence of Filip Peeters as suave seducer Vincent Stevens to Bruno Vanden Broucke as the nervous Luc Seynaeve – Broucke creating within him a man whose face tells far more than his lips will. Wolfram de Marco's tense soundtrack reminded me in places of Hans Zimmer's score for 'The Ring', punctuated by earnest strings and softened by echoing piano, never overused but doing much to set the tone.
This then is 'Loft', a shadowy discourse on what happens when one succumbs to their desires and the way in which one lie compounds another. Within, all bright lights are diffuse, leaving only shades of grey, misery clawing desperately at excuses and no real victors. In amidst this gallery of the fallen stands the film itself, aiming high in terms of plot twist and drama, but sinking slowly through the ground for failing to engage the viewer on the most fundamental level: empathy.
Directed by Erik Van Looy, the film smartly intertwines present with flashbacks to give viewers the backstory of each of its characters & create fresh doubts in their minds about who could be the real suspect among these. The writing is equally good too as each character is presented in a grey shade, thus making it difficult for the viewers to converge on a single suspect until the film reveals all on its own. The acting is quite convincing by its ensemble cast, cinematography makes great use of lighting, editing is brilliantly carried out & the music is a big plus here.
There is no denying that viewers will try to solve this mysterious puzzle as soon as the film begins since no time is wasted in taking a linear approach and yet, the film will be able to surprise most of them not once but multiple times. On an overall scale, Loft is an amazing mystery thriller that is cleverly plotted, has an atmosphere of tension & suspicion from the very beginning, is perplexing but never confusing to the extent that makes the viewers reject it outright & didn't put a foot wrong until the film's third act, which is the only part that disappointed me though not majorly & will even work for most.
Out of the very few Belgian films that I've seen so far, this one is arguably my new favorite as of now. And I've no problem in recommending this film to anyone for it has the charged tension of a Hitchcock thriller & really deserves a wider audience. So, give it a try before Hollywood comes up with a remake, which actually is coming out later this year, probably in August, helmed by director Van Looy only.
The themes of the film are friendship, love and cheating in a twisted plot that repeatedly keeps the spectators on their toes. Don't read the summary of the film at IMDb as it gives away a bit too much. Actually, you should never read the summary of a film 'cause they always give away too much.
Even though I don't understand the language in the film the actors manage to convince me and entertain me. The female lead character, Veerle Baetens, is especially enchanting. I first got a glimpse of her in another great film called "The Broken Circle Breakdown", where she was equally electrifying. Matthias Schoenaerts is perfect as a simple brute, a role which he has to some extent repeated in other films like "Bullhead" and "Rust and Bone".
"The Loft" is shot beautifully with lots of different lenses, crane cameras and lighted in a way that underlines the tension and the feelings of the actors.
I had a good time watching this one and I believe you will too.
It's kind of trying to be smart when u r not really smart.
then some others minors:
Why Luk tried to sell the place under the dead girl's name? Why Luk was back that place again at the end, and how did Chris know he would be there and called the police?
the plot seems just not working? or did i missed anything from the English subtitle?
Well loft is exactly the opposite. A very moral tale about friends sharing an apartment for sexual adventures; that one day find out a dead woman body in the bed and try to find out who did it.
Obviously was one of them and in a things has an unexpected twist in the third act (and another one in the fourth ); but the first one is absurd and the second even worse. By the epilogue; everybody but the killer has done the right and morally correct thing.
To be sincere; the first half of the movie; is intriguing; but as things start to clarify, events seems forced and without any reasonable logic.
In brief; do not lose your time with this. It could happens the American remake is better; but with this original it should not going to be any better.
One has to admire the originality, ingenuity and clock-work precision of Bart De Pauw's screenplay : it's a work of art. De Pauw, an asset to Flemish comedy and thriller writing both, has done some excellent work and "Loft" is one of the highlights of his career.
The movie is characterized by an admirable unity of artistic vision : it is "Loft" from the first second to the last, without tonal shifts or missteps. It is also notable for breathing claustrophobic and disillusioned noir, a rare achievement in Flemish film.
Sadly "Loft" didn't grip and involve me as much as it should have. In a certain sense it was too well done - too cerebral, too clever, too coldly abstract. It also struck me as over-convoluted, with too many people whose secrets had secrets, whose agendas had agendas and whose lies had lies. (In fairness it should be noted that I have watched the movie with other viewers, who were riveted to the point of sitting on the edge of their seats and failing to breathe.) Still, the movie was deadly accurate in pointing out that there exist "friendships" which are nothing else than egotism or rivalry turned inside-out.