Isabelle Hupert, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Stephen Rea
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There is a sense of the various pleasures to be had from genre cinema… and the film maintains a palpable degree of nervous tension throughout.
When twenty-something Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds a handbag on the subway, she does the ‘right thing’ and returns it to its owner, French widow and piano teacher Greta (Isabelle Huppert). Frances’ roommate Erica (Maika Monroe) believes that her friend is naïve, but despite this cynicism Frances and Greta’s unlikely friendship rapidly develops.
With Frances having recently lost her mother, and Greta’s daughter apparently living overseas, the two women find a mutual solace, the older woman’s cottage-like Brooklyn house offering the reassuring warmth of the maternal home, despite the banging behind the wall (the neighbours doing construction work, Greta informs Frances). While the city’s inhabitants are busy and indifferent to much around them, the two outsiders – European immigrant Greta, and out-of-towner Frances – appear to share an innocence which manifests around the returned handbag, kitchen comforts, and a pet dog. But then Frances makes an accidental discovery and the relationship spins into a rapidly unfolding nightmare of need, obsession, stalking, and darkness.
To say more would, of course, give too much plot away, but needless to say, after seeing this movie most people won’t be returning lost property anytime soon.
Neil ‘The Company of Wolves, The Butcher Boy, The Crying Game’ Jordan’s latest film is a horror-thriller, rooted in female friendships, the nature of loneliness, and the endless grasp of loveless need. The director’s New York is almost like a fairy tale, complete with cobbled streets, dark back alleys, and a quasi-bucolic cottage that seems far from most cinematic images of the city.
With her cycling and love of animals, Frances is almost the cliched ingenue; in contrast Greta’s increasingly nightmarish presence lends a suitably gothic undertow to the proceedings.
There are, of course, clear B-movie roots at play alongside the nods to art house cinema, and Jordan combines both elements with a keen sensibility. There is a sense of the various pleasures to be had from genre cinema – the director and cast share an appreciation for the material – and the film maintains a palpable degree of nervous tension throughout.