Tuesday 10 October 2023

Movie review: Reptile, dir Grant Singer (2023)

“Creepy” is the word to describe this directorial debut by a music video maker. The next one that comes to mind is “brilliant”. Without using excessive violence, Singer manages to convey the true horror of killing. The plot is hard to follow because the scripting is very basic, you get just enough information to barely follow the story, but it’s very little to go on. You feel as though you are in the shoes of Tom Nichols (Benicio del Toro) as he tries to track down the assassin of a real estate agent.

The title is clever as well. In one scene the victim Summer (Matilda Lutz) finds a snake skin in the house she’d selling. She picks it up and puts it back down. Within minutes she’ll be dead, stabbed many times so hard the blade wedges in her bone. The secondary characters are also creepy and the amount of information you know about people is, as in real life, sometimes incomplete. So when Tom asks his boss Robert Allen (Eric Bogosian) about a car in Allen’s garage, you feel the distance between the two men, the inseparable gulf that exists even between people who see each other every second day; Allen is also the father of Tom’s wife Judy (Alicia Silverstone).

You also feel Tom’s inner anger, as when he confronts a workman who’s been doing up his kitchen. Tom thinks that the guy has designs on Judy so he threatens him with violence. You find unaccustomed behaviour by the major characters like this all the time in ‘Reptile’ so you’re always on your guard in case someone you’re supposed to trust turns out to be guilty. This is the way the world is.

When I decided to watch ‘Reptile’ I’d already come across the movie before. This was in a tweet where someone had said that the movie was slow and that they’d guessed the killer at the beginning. I find this hard to believe, at least I find it hard to believe that the killer was already accounted for in this interlocutor’s imagination. I can see how the movie might seem ponderous to some, as nothing much happens for long stretches of time. The camera work is however excellent in an effort to add to that “creepy” feeling I mentioned earlier. I loved the movie in all of its aspects, and recommend it to anyone.

No comments: