Life for an entrepreneur and his American family begins to take a twisted turn after moving into an English country manor.Life for an entrepreneur and his American family begins to take a twisted turn after moving into an English country manor.Life for an entrepreneur and his American family begins to take a twisted turn after moving into an English country manor.
JIM'S REVIEW: (RECOMMENDED) Change is not always a good thing. A little known independent film called The Nest proves that point rather well. Director / writer Sean Durkin sets an ominous tone from the onset in this psychological study about a family coming undone with their abrupt relocation from America to the UK. To say that the move does not go well is an understatement.
Rory O'Hara and his lovely wife, Allison, live the perfect storybook life. He is a rich trader and she is his pampered trophy wife caught in 80's opulence and living the good life. All seems well enough on the surface with the O'Hara's until Rory decides to head back to his hometown of London and uproot his family. One small problem: Rory is a grifter and liar and he and his family will be forced to make the ultimate sacrifices due to his overt actions.
The family dynamic is odd from the start. Unexplained circumstances occur with some subtle but mostly heavy-handed symbolism (a dark horse buried and suddenly exhumed, an expensive fur coat showing personal greed and wealth, doors unable to lock, hidden cigarette butts indicating rebellion, a wool sweater showing character enabling, etc.). The on-going tension slowly builds and personality traits morph these characters into totally different individuals,: Samantha (Oona Roche) becomes the defiant teenage daughter, Ben (Charlie Shotwell) morphs into a introverted young boy and the husband/wife tag team, expertly played by Jude Law and Carrie Coons, become a warring tribe sorting through all of their self-centered behaviors. Mr. Durkin's screenplay establishes its tone most effectively, but only hints at the betrayals and destructive behaviors of this family. Scenes of more direct conflict could have created to produce a more concise family portrait.
Still most of the film is atmospheric and engaging due to Sean Durkin's fine direction and the acting of Mr. Law and Ms. Coons as the battling spouses. They are very good in their roles and bring their characters' self-indulgences and bitternesses centerstage. Their explosive scenes are terrific when they finally arrive as they snipe and rage at each other, but they are rarely viewed. Most of their inner anger stays within, always simmering to the top, yet rarely brims over. As their children, both Ms. Roche and Mr. Shotwell are totally convincing as pawns in their parent's gamesmanship.
The Nest is a special type of film, more for those moviegoers interested in psychological tension, creepy atmosphere, and well-define characters than a plot-driven story with definite results. Despite much to admire, this nest is a tad empty. (GRADE: B-)
- Feb 13, 2021