Have you ever felt like you were being watched in your own home? Antti Jokinen’s The Resident takes this paranoia to the next level. Part produced by the renowned Hammer Films, in an attempt at reviving the once popular company. The Resident stars Hilary Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, with a special cameo from Hammer Alumni and all round people’s favourite Christopher Lee. The film follows Juliet Devereau (Swank) as she searches for a new apartment after breaking up from her boyfriend, Lee Pace, who cheated on her, in her own bed, none the less. Soon, she meets Max (Morgan) who is renovating an apartment and she loves it immediately.
However, this film isn’t the sequel to P.S. I Love You, also starring Morgan and Swank, as it is a thriller which has clear influences from Hitchcock. Almost half way through, we soon find out that Morgan’s character isn’t all he seems and that he is a strong manipulator who is obsessed with Swank. The film should’ve been called P.S. I Stalk You, as it is clear that Swank has her own personal stalker but the main question should be of the identity of Swank’s stalker.
It is tense and you definitely feel paranoid yourself during the film. Don’t watch it by yourself in the dark, as you will start hearing noises and asking yourself if your neighbour is capable of having voyeuristic tendencies. Whilst there are moments of cringe, and just uncomfortable scenes in general, the film itself is enjoyable. It’s a fun, discount version of Rear Window combined with Psycho. It has gore, suspense, sex and everything you’d expect to enjoy a film. It may not be this decade’s best thriller, but it’s an entertaining movie. You needn’t ask for more.
The Counselor tells the story of a man nicknamed The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) who gets in over his head with a drug deal. The film features many themes such as Death, Greed, Sex, Good vs Evil etc. The visuals of the film are stunning at times. The use of establishing shots to show the beautiful landscape of Mexico or the show the imagery of long highways. Scott also uses extreme close ups for his characters to highlight the tremendous talent in this film including everyone’s favourite ‘Michael Fassbender’. The audio was disappointing for me in this film. The music and the sound of films are usually the highlight for me, such as the outstanding soundtrack for Seven Psychopaths or even the audio for Inception. The sound was minimal and basic and not in an intriguing way but an awkward one, but the acting of a few individuals redeem this. Fassbender was his classic, talented self, and the focus on his face was outstanding.
I generally found the film exciting most of the time but I found it to personally drag at times. My favourite moment of this film was when Fassbender realises that he cannot change the past but must accept his fate. His facial acting is brilliant and the way he can change from one extreme to another, is why Fassbender is a rare gem in the movie business and truly an incredible actor. He is a chameleon and it’s a rare quality that makes him unique and stand out. This is a different step for Scott (aside from American Gangster) but an exciting and ambitious new take. I would recommend if you love Thriller films are if you liked Body of Lies or American Gangster. If you are a fan of Fassbender, then you definitely need to see this. His character has the vulnerability of Brandon from Shame, the wit from Bobby Sands in Hunger and a mixture of Fassbender himself.
I found myself disappointed with the direction of Penelope Cruz. Her role was a safe choice I believe, as she wasn’t anything spectacular and was definitely overshadowed. Scott only seemed to use Cruz as a way to boost his all-star cast. Cameron Diaz pushed her usual boundary for a great attempt but her fluctuation between accents is a little hard on the ears and cringe-worthy at times. Javier Bardem was outrageous but superb as ever. Whilst Brad Pitt shows he can act, albeit overshadowed by the master classes of Fassbender and Bardem. Breaking Bad fans will enjoy the cameo of Dean Norris (Hank Schrader) who ironically plays a guy buying drugs. The film has humour in it and heart, but if you aren’t a big thriller fan, then perhaps The Counselor isn’t for you. If you love great acting, and car porn then this film is for you.