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Film Review: The Intruder (2019)

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SYNOPSIS:

A young married couple buys a beautiful house on several acres of land, only to find out that the man they bought it from refuses to let go of the property.

REVIEW:

When I was first alerted to the new dark side Dennis Quaid movie, “The Intruder” (in theaters at the time), I must say I was intrigued just on trailer alone. It’s what I call (while sitting thru the trailers of the moment), a “gotta-see-that-one” kinda film. Well, on that note, somehow I missed its theater run due to my hometown cinema only featuring 4 movies per week and steep-running competition. However, second pass per home viewing proved to be just as good to meet that criteria, which brings me now to its official blu ray release.

Dennis Quaid who has given us countless great performances over the years, usually as the man in charge or hero type role, makes an incredible transition to on-screen bad guy. I was trying to place his type of character which seems to take the form of a mixture of “Cape Fear” Deniro, Stephen Dorff “Cold Creek Manor”, or well for that matter, your stereotypical older-guy-that-stirs-trouble type of role. But…. let’s not diminish Dennis’s performance here as it provides the films acting high point by far, also transitioning our view of Dennis Quaid as a formidable bad guy. Which is much in the same way John Cusak and/or Kevin Bacon has been transformed over a series of releases. Oh, and let’s not forget Ray Liotta who seems to have inspired like-performances over decades.

Digressing back to the movie itself, “The Intruder” offers a simple premise filled with all sorts of underlying strategic movie insinuations (if you may). A young millennial couple, Annie Russell (Meagan Good) and her husband Scott Russell (Michael Ealy) are in the process of finally purchasing “that” California dream home. Not the Bay area overpriced loft we are used to seeing silicon valley couples acquire, but yet a dream home out in the much desired, Nappa Valley. Which, by the way, seems to align with most bay area dream situations to those who can afford the expense and willing to due the commute. The commute, which is also true to fact, is about 1 1/2 – 2 hours away (note: as a former Bay are resident, I can attest that he was actually putting in over a 2 hour drive from Nappa to San Francisco)

We are acquainted with their lifestyle, a typical tech/agency lifestyle that has Scott introduced as the top earner for his company. Now despite that bit of information, I found it hard to believe that an art director could afford a 3.5 million dollar house (but, I getting a bit ahead of things).

So to wrap all this up, the 2 of them travel to Nappa, meet home owner Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid), and fall in love with his house. They negotiate and thus purchase. The keyword here is actually “his” house, which sets the tone for the whole film.

Charlie, a seemingly nice man, has run into life issues and so has to sell off his lifetime generational family home. A stunning one at that and set in a beautiful location, the home is one that even after a hefty price tag sale, is not something that Charlie can easily part with. This sets the basis for the conflict, which is, Charlie doesn’t appear to want to go away. A series of friendly gestures starts to get creepy real fast, leading to that uncomfortable aspect of …this is not you house anymore, please go away.

So I really don’t have to spell out every detail here to alert readers to the fact that Charlie becomes dark and creepier. This is also what makes the story fun.

However, the writers and directors did something different here which I’ll talk about briefly. They set a young millennial black couple (and pretty couple at that) up as the successful ones who while not only being breadwinners, are living the American dream. Charlie, an older white individual, becomes the down on his luck antagonist. So you say, ok, nothing entirely new right? Well let’s add 1 more factor, that is probably inspired by the present political climate. Charlie also favors the couple over other buyers (who we’ll assume partially are young white couples) and appears to fall in love with Scott’s wife.

Nothing wrong with that, as I thought it was a nice switch on stereotypes, however with Charlie being sort of a good old fashion boy who hunts regularly, traditional, and a resident of Nappa Valley, it was not the behavior to be expected.

This plot aspect creates a different climate to the film. The husband has to threaten Dennis to stay away and from his wife, while the wife feels a sense of compassion for Charlie and his obsession over the house.

You might say the film was targeted in some way based on what details I have disclosed, though I really didn’t mind it as it was done so under great acting and dialog script writing. Deon Taylor came at this obviously with this extra story twist, though at the end of the day…a psychotic former home owner is creepy one way or the other. Dennis actually can be very creepy, quite easily which is weird to say for our token “Esurance” spokesperson. Dennis who is of 65 years old, actually was impressively fit at his age in this movie, begging the question, what is your workout routine?

In closing, “The Intruder” is a remarkable fun and intense film offering a great Dennis Quaid performance. Recommended!

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