A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
You know those films that are limitedly released and proceed to slip under your radar even though you expressed interest in seeing them?
Films that looked adequate enough to get you along to the cinema on an afternoon where you need to occupy a few hours? Films that iMDB gave a mid 6-7 out of 10 rating which reinforced your “I don’t mind, but it looks kind of okay” attitude?
Well, having just witnessed “The Guest”, my advice to each and every one of you is that you make the most of films such as this and seize the opportunity to witness them in all their glory before they disappear from your agendas all together!
“The Guest”, one of the most surprisingly enthralling pictures I’ve seen in quite some time is not only one of the best pictures of 2014, it is something we haven’t really seen before in a smorgasbord genre piece!
For what originally appears to be an outright horror piece, “The Guest” blends tension, drama and action in a heavily stylistic manner to create something truly unique in what is otherwise a relatively simplistic story.
On an average afternoon, Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelly) answers the door to find a young, handsome and charming young man who has news of her late son. ‘David’ (Dan Stevens), a military soldier, claims that he knew Laura’s son very well and his duty following his death was to take care of his family and send them his love.
In what seems like a very similar plot line to the origin story of Principal Skinner, the directions in which “The Guest” progresses is something that appears to have been taken straight out of the mind of someone who didn’t quite know what route he wanted to take, and I for one am certainly not complaining.
Leaving his duties at the Abbey on hold to try out his American accent, Dan Stevens nails every second of screen time he occupies in his transformative efforts as Daniel; an enigmatic 007-meets-Bourne-meets-Terminator-meets-The Driver-type of fellow.
The exploration and unearthing of Daniel makes him such an intriguing character that you’re so unsure about, and he’s played perfectly by the relatively unknown but commendably confident and suiting Stevens; I foresee big things of this man, watch this space.
Supports are also excellent. The character of Luke, played by Brendan Meyer provides the majority of the film’s surprising comedic moments, mostly through confusion and fascination in contrast to David. Looking like Chloe Grace Moretz with a mop, Meyer plays his part very well, and his connection with his fellow cast members is soundly strong.
As previously mentioned through character likenesses, the overall film possesses heavy similarities and influences from that of “Drive”.
Not only are the central characters similar in mannerisms, sleekness and badassery, it’s the inherent sense of dread that underlines the narrative, the neon colour pallet and of course, the edgy 80’s synth-pop odyssean soundtrack. Visually and stylistically, there are links to be argued for, but apart from that, these films are separate beasts.
But ultimately, if you were a fan of the Gosling gloomy, dramatic tragedy piece, you’ll no doubt have something to enjoy with “The Guest”.
The underlying Halloween theme within “The Guest” works exceptionally well to create an forthcoming, ominous sense of threat and darkness. Not only is the tension amped up significantly through character exploration and increasing suspicion, seeing Jack-o’-lanterns and various Horror cliche conventions cleverly exploited in many ways makes the narrative that much stronger overall.
Having mentioned the positive use of the Halloween/horror theme within the overall buildup of the story and set pieces, it would be strange to hear about how funny “The Guest” is!
This film has moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity and it is completely unexpected, making for a sudden twist in mood all too often – perfect writing!
From what I heard about “The Guest”, it was a surprisingly entertaining, cleverly constructed and excellently performed picture that was one of 2014’s hidden gems, and boy was it!
Leaving this film breathless and ecstatic, this would have made it into my Top 10 List without question had I seen it last year.
Nevertheless, “The Guest” encapsulates what a good thriller is about, what a good drama is about and what a darn good action flick is about! Dan Stevens gets his Hollywood career ball rolling and there are some potential up-and-comer’s in the mix of supports. The score is excellent, the colours are electric and so is the tone.
For an afternoon where you’re in one of those “I want to watch something good but nothing ‘classic’ that is too long and old”-type moods, look no further than this one!