Director Erik Van Loov remakes his 2008 Belgian thriller The Loft for American audiences. The suspenseful tale of five friends who share an apartment for their extramarital affairs hits screens this weekend starring Kark Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet and Matthias Scoenaerts reprising his role from the original.
The film unfolds at the scene of a crime at the titular loft. The five friends discover the dead body of a woman in the bed and begin to question which one of them committed the crime. Totally plays out like a Backstreet Boys song gone wrong. They all reminisce how they acquired their key from Vincent (Urban) who basically lured them to share the apartment he designed for some very naughty business. They’re all married and in fact the suggestion of having this place to discreetly cheat on their wives happens at the wedding of Phil (Scoenaerts) who has some violent tendencies that need to be kept in check. His brother Chris (Marsden) helps him cope with it but they’re easily triggered if anyone says anything about his little sister. At this same wedding Marsden meets a mysterious woman Anne (Rachel Taylor) who tempts him despite rebuffing her. He ultimately gives in and takes a key in a later flashback. Luke (Miller) is the only one of the guys who doesn’t seem to give in to the games their friend Vincent invited them to join him in. Mostly due to the nature of another interaction they had in the past at a gambling event, where they all interacted with their respective temptations and wives, Luke’s view of things unravels clues to the whoddunit.
For a moment you’d think because this is all literally happening under the noses of five wives that they had something to do with it but they don’t. They’re just there and that’s where the weakness of this movie lies. All the female characters in this are one dimensional as just the wronged wives, the other women, the hooker with the heart of gold and the dead girl. Sure the five actors portray these really unsympathetic men but that’s all the movie is, five friends who do crappy things that turn on one another. When you find the twist out, it’s really unsatisfying. If anything it’s a character study in the nature of men who cheat and the crazy lengths they go to. The performances are solid though, Urban and Marsden give great dramatic turns but you really don’t care about them. Marsden gets the girl he fell in love with (hooker with a heart of gold) while in a shitty marriage with the stereotypical ‘bitch’ wife (Rhona Mitra). Mitra was awesome in her steely glares and acerbic lines but could have had a dynamic back story. Seriously all the wives in this were underused.
For a film that’s been often remade, it’s really a wonder why. Who’s this movie really for and what’s it really saying about the state of relationships? At the end you’re left wondering why only one of them paid for what they all did. Makes sense.
The Loft opens this friday.