2015 / Director. Erik Van Looy.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Belgian director Erik Van Looy makes his American debut with this remake of his own film LOFT. I have not seen the original and so I have no point of comparison to draw upon and perhaps that is to my advantage. The original film might be a masterpiece, which could cast a shadow what I consider to be a well made and competent thriller.
The premise is fantastic and feels as though it were lifted straight from the Hitchcockian hand-book. Five married men share the ownership of an upscale high-rise loft apartment. It serves as a secret den for each of them to use for their own sexual deviations. With a strict set of rules, each of them has a key and takes advantage of their luxury hideout on a frequent basis. The film begins with one of them walking in to find a girl on the bed, mutilated and murdered. With the alarm having been disabled and no sign of forced entry all of the men are summoned to the loft and so begins a process of elimination... with each of them proclaiming their innocence.
Throughout the course of the film secrets are revealed as the story hopscotches in time. With the main thread of the film taking place in the loft we are also exposed to each of their own backstories and connections to the dead girl. It is a complex and twisted set of circumstances that throws red herrings and casts ongoing suspicions upon each man. It is a clever and well written film that would be the sort of movie we'd expect Hitchcock to be making, were he still alive.
The performances are very solid and all five men have been perfectly cast. They are Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonehouse and Matthias Schoenaerts reprising his role from the original 2008 film. Their female support cast is lead by Rachel Taylor and includes Rhona Mitra, Valerie Cruz, Elaine Cassidy and Kali Rocha. I hesitate to include Isabel Lucas in that list because she is awful. Possibly one of the worst actresses I have ever seen and certainly THE LOFT's weakest link. It is fortunate that the quality of the other performances keep the film elevated.
I am usually irritated by films which bound back and forth in time, however, THE LOFT is a sharp and concise thriller that kept me engaged from start to finish. It is perhaps ever so slightly long and possibly one or two twists too indulgent but not to the point of diminishing its strength. Good writing, solid acting and strong direction bring it all together nicely. It is one of the better thriller films I have seen in quite a while and I suspect it will fly under most people's radar... and so I encourage you to track it down. Good stuff.