BEIRUT: Releasing this week is another Netflix collaboration, this time in the attempted iteration of an action thriller.
It seems the algorithms at Netflix showed the popularity of their latest series Bodyguard, and executives may have pushed for this feature to be greenlit.
CLOSE, directed by Vicky Jewson, follows Sam, a bodyguard and counter-terrorism expert, after she takes a job protecting a rich young heiress named Zoe. Neither party is keen on the arrangement until a violent kidnapping forces them to go on the run.
This film looks and feels like a hodgepodge of a variety of successful spy-thrillers, and yet the result is flat, uneven, and a downright bore.
What is most jarring, however, is that the film never feels grounded in any form of reality, but rather comes off as a sorry excuse to have a female lead spy-thriller.
The narrative’s largest problem, which results in a problem for the film as well, is with its unlikeable protagonists.
Both Noomi Rapace and Sophie Nelisse don’t do much to elevate the dull narrative; seeing that they’re the core protagonists of this tale, this is beyond problematic.
The film never allows the audience to connect on any level, and events just occur without proper set-up and payoff.
What makes matters way worse is that dialogue is so cringe-worthy, it makes watching a daytime soap opera an engaging experience.
The action sequences don’t even properly deliver and are not coherent enough.
For a film that proclaims to want to alter or enhance the genre, all it does is flip the protagonist’s gender while continuing the trend of flat, two-dimensional Arab terrorist baddies.
To add on to that, the narrative leaves the audience with more questions than answers and ends on a flat note.
On a technical level, CLOSE does offer a few interesting shots, but nothing memorable enough to remember after watching the film.
It’s a very bland and recycled film tone that doesn’t help the previously mentioned monotonous narrative.
It tries to implement the same hand-held camera movements and framing that audiences have seen perfected in the Jason Bourne films, and it fails miserably.
Even in the film’s edit, the pace is completely off, and some moments drag longer than logically possible, while others are too quick to absorb and comprehend.
With all that in mind, by the film’s end, all the elements in the recipe result with a superficial wannabe action thriller that tries to use too many tropes to secure interest, but instead it raises the temptation to turn the film off or switch to an episode of a Netflix original series.
CLOSE is too busy promoting the fact that it has a strong female lead and is helmed by a female director, that it completely ignores all the other aspects that make it an unsatisfying, ignorant spy-thriller that proves one thing, and one thing only: not all Netflix films lead to Roma.
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