Thursday, July 2, 2015

Usually an English Language Remake Follows a Foreign Film, Not Vice Versa!: "Reckless" (2015)

This Dutch remake of "The Disappearance of Alice Creed" is a nicely paced thriller that falls short of perfect thanks to a few too many false endings and convolutions.

Laura (Sarah Chronis) is a real estate tycoon's daughter, kidnapped by the masked Victor (Tygo Gernandt) and Rico (Marwan Kenzari). Victor and Rico have a full-proof plan, and will split the four million Euro ransom. They keep Laura in a small padded room in a decrepit apartment, chaining her to the bed and dealing with her father (who is never seen; this trio is the only cast) with untraceable cell phones. The apartment becomes claustrophobic as the three characters begin manipulating each other, with shocking revelations about how each of them is connected to the other.

I'm afraid I can't share too much more information about the plot because some of the connections are integral to the film. I will say that Lursen does a great job directing, and the editing from Job ter Burg is perfect. The film is small, but Jasper Wolf's cinematography is clear, and I love how harshly he lights Chronis. Technically, the film is marvelous, and ter Burg and Lursen ratchet the suspense up until it is almost unbearable. The gross toilet in the apartment almost deserves a cast credit, considering how important a role it plays to the plot. The locations are cold and overcast.

The cast is very good, with Gernandt and Kenzari shining as the criminal pair. Chronis does spend most of the film chained to furniture, but she is still able to convey a strong-willed character even when she doesn't have the ability to speak. All three literally shed their inhibitions and clothing during the film (with one memorable scene between Laura and Rico), but the cast doesn't seem self-conscious. A few too many false endings rear their ugly heads toward the end, and I thought the coincidences were a little far reaching. Either way, the journey there, and watching the characters try to survive and still get a ton of loot in the process, is both entertaining (as it were) and a little bittersweet.

I haven't read or seen "The Disappearance of Alice Creed," and I probably should. In the meantime, "Reckless" provides some solid thrills. I recommend it. (* * * *) out of five stars.