2013 / Director. Joseph Ruben.
Director Joseph Ruben has kept a low profile over the last 20 years. In the 80s he was a prominent and reliable name with films including The Stepfather, Dreamscape, Sleeping with the Enemy and The Good Son. PENTHOUSE NORTH is his first movie in 10 years and it's not exactly a bold comeback. Michelle Monaghan plays a blind woman who returns to her home to discover her boyfriend dead in the kitchen. The killer is still inside and as events unfold it becomes apparent that something is hidden in the apartment that he desperately needs. His boss arrives and the movie becomes a series of repetitive back-and-forths... "where is it?"... "I don't know".... "where is is?" ... "I don't know" (I've essentially given you the movie's treatment there). With a modest budget and a simple story the entire movie takes place in the one location with the exception of a few flashbacks to the woman losing her sight in Afghanistan (she was a photojournalist). I have no idea why we need to see how she became blind because it bears no relevance to the story at hand. I won't reveal what these bad guys are looking for either but let me say that I felt fairly cocky in assuming to know where it was hidden. Turns out I was wrong and the red-herring I was latching onto would have made it a much better film. Michelle Monaghan is good and plays her blind character convincingly, however Michael Keaton looks bored. He has played this character before and I get the impression he's at a point that he'll take whatever job he can get. It's a shame. He's not bad by any means but he's not the enthusiastic and animated actor he once was. Penthouse North is a lackluster Hitchcockian thriller, which you could demote to the bottom of your "to see" list. Save it for when there's little else to watch.