Friday, 2 January 2015

the guest

the guest is about a family who lost a son in iraq or afghanistan or whatever, then this guy david turns up claiming he served with their son and ends up staying with them, hence the guest.

on the face of it the guest doesn't seem all that unique. whenever a stranger turns up and seems too good to be true, you kind of know there aren't going to be any real surprises. but the guest is kind of brilliant, in a neat, really enjoyable way.

director adam wingard infuses the film with his usual awesome stylistic touches which elevate the experience, and simon barrett's script is a wonderful portrait of a family in crisis. the four family members are so well-drawn and so easy to empathise with that much of the joy of the first half of the film comes from watching david sort out their problems. the situations are very well crafted, with david often taking on impossible odds only to sort out the problem with a few well chosen words or occasionally a single punch. like i said, i knew from the beginning that something would be up with him, but i badly wanted david to be legit, and while the script is part of that it's mostly down to one essential element.

dan stevens is amazing in this film. david fits the definition of a psychopath - someone with no empathy, incapable of feeling remorse, and has to emulate what he thinks of as human behaviour in order to fit in. this last part is what stevens pulls off so perfectly. he presents david as a robot that has been programmed to say the right thing, but he infuses him with just enough humanity that as a viewer you're never quite sure whether he's a psychopath or not.

other things that are awesome - steve moore's carpenter-esque score is amazing and there are some great songs too. also, the final set piece takes place in a neon-lit horror maze, complete with an enter the dragon style final showdown in a mirror room. any film that ends in a hall of mirrors wins points.

overall, this is one of the most accomplished films i've seen in recent months and definitely worth checking out. it was just released and you can rent or buy it most places, so go do that. you won't regret it.

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