Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4./1.5.2015
[Review by cornholio.]
The Petersons have recently lost their son/brother in action in the Iraq war. As they still struggle with grief, a soldier turns up on their doorstep: David (Dan Stevens) served with their son/brother and he wanted to chek in on them as he had promised to take of the entire family. Mother Laura (Sheila Kelley) is quickly taken in by the charming David and offers him a place to stay for a while. It doesn’t take much longer for father Spencer (Leland Orser) and son Luke (Brendan Meyer) to bond with him. Only daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) remains suspicious – David is just too perfect.
So far, Adam Wingard movies were rather disappointing for me. But I really loved The Guest. It was funny and superentertaining and was one of my cinematic highlights of the spring edition of the /slash.
If you allow me a moment of “I liked it before everyone else thought it was cool” hipsterdom, I had my eye on Dan Stevens since Hilde. I have since seen him in a few movies and Downton Abbey, of course, and he always played this rather soft-mannered British guy (and always perfectly). And suddenly here he is, the perfect embodiment of the all USAmerican soldier, kicking ass. It really is fucking impressive. [And it’s also a very different form of sexy than he usually hits.]
His performance and presence carry a lot of the film (and even give rise to a passable female gaze moment from Wingard), leaving everybody else in their shadow, though Maika Monrie isn’t bad either. But the movie has strengths outside of Stevens as well: the story is funny (in a black, not unbitter way), the fight scene are beautifully choreographed and not badly edited, the soundtrack is really grat and the pacing – which was already You’re Next‘s biggest strength – is honed to perfection.
The film works perfectly as a comedy and had me in stitches. But there is also a serious undertone here that is worth looking at more closely (maybe on re-watching): [SPOILERS] the military industrial complex builds supersoldiers, training them to be unfeeling, ruhtless killing machines, so it should come as no surprise, when fitting in with the regular population doesn’t go quite without a hitch. In this film, of course, psychopathic supersoldiers are taken literally and the consequences are rather more spectacular – in the real world it would just result in PTSD and general estrangement. But that doesn’t mean that story isn’t in the film, too. [/SPOILERS]
Whether you want to delve deep, or whether you want to stay just below the surface – you’ll find that The Guest is a satsfying and entertaining film.