*1/2 (out of 5)
January 30, 2015
Karl Urban as VINCENT STEVENS
James Marsden as CHRIS VANOWEN
Wentworth Miller as LUKE SEACORD
Eric Stonestreet as MARTY LANDRY
Matthias Schoenaerts as PHILIP TRAUNER
Isabel Lucas as SARAH DEAKINS
Rachael Taylor as ANNE MORRIS
Studio: Open Road
Directed by: Erik Van Looy
BY KEVIN CARR
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There are certain aspects of “The Loft” that I secretly love in movies. I love the limited-set bottle episode type of film where a small group of people have to figure out a problem facing them in a single room. I love a good murder mystery. I love the attempt at a Hitchcock-style thriller. And yeah, the one or two nude scenes with the ladies ain’t bad either. (Hey, I’m being honest here!)
However, there are so many flaws in “The Loft” that it becomes impossible to ignore the bad and focus on the good elements.
“The Loft” is a relatively simple set-up: Five guys share a secret downtown loft apartment, were they can bring girlfriends, mistresses and hookers for a night of fun without facing the danger of their wives checking the credit card statement for rogue hotel charges. However, when one of the men shows up one morning and discovers a dead woman handcuffed to the bed, he calls the others over, and they realize that one of them must be the murderer.
So yeah, it’s a cool set-up. However, from the first few minutes, this neat set-up falls victims to the movie’s fatal flaws. First of all, there’s a problematic chronology in the film. The movie starts with the ending scene, only to reveal a “Earlier this morning…” title card to bring us back to the discovery of the body. Then, we have all the men in the police station being questioned by detectives. Soon, this flashback-within-a-flashback starts flashing back further to the backstory of the loft and the men involved.
Even more confusing, these flashbacks (which I’m assuming are what the men are telling the police) merge with other backstory that they couldn’t (or shouldn’t) possibly be telling the cops. It’s not necessarily that it’s hard to follow, but it’s a sign of really sloppy writing.
However, I could forgive all that if I cared one diddly damn about any of the characters. But I don’t. All the guys in the movie are philandering assholes. These aren’t men struggling with a problematic marriage beyond their control. These are simply men who are screwing around on their wives. Sure, there’s a continuum, from one man falling in love with a political sex toy when his wife becomes cold and distant to his brother who routines brings up prostitutes to the loft so he can snort cocaine and rape them.
Honestly, I couldn’t care whether all five of these guys went to jail for a crime they did or did not commit. They illicit no sympathy from me.
Even then, the wives and girlfriends aren’t even sympathetic characters. They’re either shrill pariahs or vapidly stupid. Casting is appropriate for some, particularly the victim, who is played by Isabel Lucas who plays one of their mistresses and delivers lines so bad it sounds like she learned them phonetically.
I do like some of the actors. Karl Urban and James Marsden both do well in their roles. However, some of the other actors like Wentworth Miller (who has a truly hilarious blow-up moment near the end) and Eric Stonestreet (who can’t quite break out of his scenery-chewing shtick of Cameron from “Modern Family”) range from laughable to pitiful.
In the end, “The Loft” tries like hell to be an enjoyable and thrilling movie, but it misses the mark throughout, ultimately becoming passive and forgettable.