Rambling About The Guest (2014)

Nutshell Ramble

The one line review for the film would be: The film answers the question, how would the Bourne films turn out if Jason Bourne was a dick?



Full Ramble

The Guest is a 2014 thriller directed by Adam Wingard, written by Simon Barrett and stars Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer and Lance Reddick. The film tells the story of a man who comes down to meet a family, who have lost their eldest son to the war in Afghanistan.

The Guest is a wickedly fun thriller. We usually hear the statement “The film knows what it is”. This film benefits from understanding what that statement really means. It is a thriller, it is a movie made for genre fans but it never stops trying to be fun with the story it is trying to tell. It makes itself engaging for a newer audience who may walk into the film by showing them the respect hey deserve with a tight and gripping tale which does not slow down. It has a surprising amount of intelligence about itself and constructs a world which seems plausible based on the high number of thrillers the public at large have watched, that include shady government practices. The best compliment one can give the film is that it takes inspiration from classics such as Halloween, Terminator, Bourne etc but still carves out an identity of its own. It has some cleverly filmed sequences and as an added bonus, a middling amount of character depth if not too much. The film’s score harkens back to John Carpenter’s older work and I for one feel like that’s a nice little touch by paying the most nonchalant of homages to one of the creator’s inspirations.

Dan Stevens is fun to watch as the lead character, David. He fits the role perfectly and is menacing and charming, with his southern accent, in equal measure. A young Maika Monroe is here and she does the best she can with her admittedly limited acting skills at this point in her career. The biggest knock on the film might be its acting department. Almost all the actors essay their roles with an unmissable stilt about them. It’s not to say they are bad but it’s just something one can’t help but notice.

You know you have a good thriller on your hands when you review a film but realize revealing anything about the plot completely ruins the viewing experience for a new audience. As a person who has viewed the film, you direct a whole hoard of people to watch it at their convenience and hope they like it as much as you did. There are a few twists and turns the film takes which may not work for all members of the audience but it is good to a see a film go for something new instead of sticking to a formula. Some creative choices add to the film’s overall aura of suspense and it earns brownie points for trusting its audience by giving them only dots and not fully connecting them.

The other knocks against the film are just the basic ones. They are not too huge to ruin the overall enjoyment of the film but they are not small enough to ignore as well. Because the film wants to move at a brisk pace, it sacrifices some character development. Some common sense errors are committed as well. When I, a regular person, can seemingly solve military problems better than the military themselves I can’t help but feel the film should have taken better precautions against such fallacies in logic.

The film wants the viewer to have opinions of their own regarding the overall theme. It does not spoonfeed the audience. It presents its story and one can take or leave whatever they want from it. The main character of the film might be fodder for a never ending set of fan fictions, he just lends to that stuff.


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