The Loft: Sleazy, Dreary Whodunit-Thriller
Eric StonestreetJames Marsden...
Mystery & Suspense
Erik Van Looy
Despite’s its potentially absorbing premise, there’s very little to like about Erik Van Looy’s stylish but rather lazy whodunit-thriller, The Loft. A remake of a 2008 Flemish film of the same name – which was also directed by the Belgian filmmaker– The Loft lacks character, intelligence and the kind of suspense that can allow an audience to invest.
On paper, the plot is simple but intriguing; five married men and close friends decide to pool their money together to purchase a modern loft in the city as a bachelor pad that they can call their own, where they can bring their mistresses and one-night stands.
However, their school-boy excitement is quickly short-lived when Vincent (Urban), Chris (Marsden), his brother Phillip (Schoenaerts), Marty (Stonestreet) and Luke (Miller) are confronted with a dead body; a woman chained to the bed, naked and lying face-down in a pool of her own blood.
Soon, paranoia rips through the group of friends and a testy police interrogation unfolds a series of tiresome and confusing flashbacks as each tenant begins to tell his own version of the story.
The Loft may be stylish and easy on the eye, but it’s also slightly absurd, thoughtless and difficult to follow. Told through a series of sloppily-written flashbacks, the main problem is that it presents the five main characters as a group of philandering imbeciles and gives you no reason to root for or even empathise with on any level. It’s unashamedly sleazy and, at times, carries the air of a cheap erotic thriller.
This is not to mention the never-ending gaps in the logic or the fact that the central crux of the film – the mystery of the murder – is quickly lost sight of.
The only semi-redeeming factor is that the acting isn’t all that bad and its largely talented cast deserved more – though Eric Stonestreet (of Modern Family fame) delivers a bizarrely over-the-top- performance that threatens to undermine even that.
It’s only really the aesthetics that keep The Loft from being completely detestable; the tone of the cinematography is fitting and the metallic-grey hues work well in creating a cold, aloof sense – but that simply isn’t enough to cover up the many cracks.
Van Looy’s 2008 original holds the record for being the most successful Flemish film at the box office – and was made for less than half the budget of its contorted Hollywood adaptation – but this horribly misconceived remake might well damage the reputation of a good director. Shame.