Review: CLOSE Sticks A Bit Too Closely To The Book

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Noomi Rapace as Sam Carlson in Close, directed by Vicky Jewson.

Death threats, corrupt cops, and conspiracies — just another workday, right? It is for Noomi Rapace’s character in Close.

Close is a new thriller co-written and directed by Vicky Jewson. The film stars Noomi Rapace as a bodyguard who takes a job protecting a young rich heiress. However, as can be expected of the genre, things go awry.

This movie follows a rather typical thriller storyline. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that the film feels pretty generic and ultimately forgettable. Although the story is interesting and exciting enough to be mostly entertaining, the formulaic nature of the script means that all of the big twists can be predicted.

The movie’s pacing is quite strong, hitting the ground running and never taking a break. Sadly, that means that the film’s first scene has significantly more impact than any other action sequence. This is particularly disappointing given the fact that the opening scene has nothing to do with the main story, simply establishing the character as a female badass, which could have (and should have) been done in the main storyline.

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Sophie Nélisse as Zoe Tanner and Noomi Rapace as Sam Carlson in Close, directed by Vicky Jewson.

The characters in the movie are almost as memorable as the story. None of the characters are developed particularly well — not even the protagonist. The film had a tendency to develop the characters through expositional dialogue that told the backstory, rather than making the audience form sympathy with the characters through more natural means involving the events taking place on screen. As a result, it is hard to form a connection with any of the characters and the story is made to be less compelling.

The movie attempts to force extra subplots into the storyline, either for the purposes of characterization or excitement, and none of them work particularly well. The most frustrating side story has to be the one that tries to establish the protagonist as a mother-like figure to the girl she is protecting. This storyline felt unnecessary and unnatural, hurting the authenticity of the characters more than helping it.

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Noomi Rapace as Sam Carlson and Sophie Nélisse as Zoe Tanner in Close, directed by Vicky Jewson.
Gareth Gatrell/Netflix

That being said, the acting is mostly strong. Noomi Rapace needs to become a female action star. She does a great job with the fight scenes in the film, with a great onscreen presence and surprisingly emotional delivery of dialogue that is disappointingly flat. It would have been nice if the action scenes had lasted a little longer to give Rapace even more time to shine, but she is still very cool as is.

The movie is also successful on a technical level. The action scenes are competently shot and the production design is excellent. The house in Morocco is a particularly interesting set, and the action sequence that takes place in that location is absolutely brilliant. The level of detail put into the different aspects of the house are truly impressive.

Overall, Close is a generic, but enjoyable and well-shot action film. It is definitely worth a stream on Netflix.

Close is available on Netflix beginning January 18.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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