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Film Review: The Loft (2014)

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The Loft

SYNOPSIS:

Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

REVIEW:

Karl Urban was born to be an action star. As good of an actor he is, after seeing DREDD, there’s nothing anyone can say to convince me otherwise. Seeing him in a film like THE LOFT gives me the impression no one seems to know just exactly what to do with his talents. He’s very good in this film (as is the rest of the cast) but part of me just knows he is being wasted. THE LOFT is a decent film, it holds your attention and all that good stuff, but it suffers from one very important problem: these characters are just flat out unlikable. James Marsden’s character has a few more redeeming qualities than the others but it’s not really saying much. It was interesting to learn it was a remake of the 2008 film LOFT from Belgium. The director of the original Erik Van Looy also helms this English language remake.

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Five long-time friends (Karl Urban, Wentworth Miller, James Marsden, Eric Stonestreet, and Matthias Schoenaerts) take the plunge and invest their money in a loft. The thing is, these men are all married and the loft is meant to be a space for each of them to take mistresses, one night stands, or hookers without the fear of being caught by their spouses. It seems like the perfect plan until one of their girls is found dead, handcuffed to the bed. The five of them all converge in the loft to decide their next course of action. Things quickly begin to spiral out of control when they begin to suspect one another of committing the act. The only way to learn the truth is to put their grievances aside and work together.

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THE LOFT is an entertaining picture with a dream cast I’m sure many directors would kill for. As amazing as this cast is, they can only do so much with the character’s they must embody. They’re purely one-dimensional and absolutely unlikable. We watch all the mean-spirited and ignorant ways they treat women and we’re expected to feel some sort of compassion for them? Sorry, it’s just not going to happen. Most of us will just sit back and watch them get what they deserve and not think twice about it. This then leaves us with the question, what the hell was the point? Is there one even worth mentioning? If the story had been told in a different manner, maybe these characters would have worked but in the context of a murder mystery, it’s hard to swallow them.

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The mystery itself is intriguing and told through a series of flashbacks. I enjoyed the numerous twists and the beats with which they were introduced. I’ve never seen the 2008 original and I’m curious as to how different or similar the two are given they both have the same director. It’s also a visually vibrant picture, perfectly showcasing the upper class lifestyle. The loft itself had a cool look but I can’t help but wonder if it had been more of a character in the story, would it have changed the tone of the finished film.

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As much as I may have griped, THE LOFT is a worthwhile effort with plenty of suspense to keep you watching until the end. Even though we may never feel much sympathy for the characters, at least they all give it their best. I just wish Hollywood would realize just what they have with a guy like Karl Urban and quit wasting him in roles like these. Even though DREDD was a box office failure, it still stands as one of the best action films Hollywood has produced in the past decade. The one true standout performance was by the criminally underrated Rhona Mitra. Her portrayal of a scorned wife was fantastic and deserving of more screen time. THE LOFT will never be a classic but it’s a good mystery without a heart). **1/2 (out of 5)

 

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