[#366Flicks] Live by the bro code, die by the bro code.

The Loft

Five men share a loft to facilitate illicit trysts with women other than their wives. Little did they know that the most illicit thing to happen in that loft would be…MURDER!!

(Spoilers lie below, venture forth at your own risk.)

The Loft is a by the numbers whodunnit. A woman is found dead one morning in a fancy apartment. The five friends who share the loft are, in theory, the only people that have access to the place, so fingers start pointing fast. Paranoia and tension builds effectively as information about each man is revealed. The story bounces around the timeline giving us insight to the twisted relationships from before they had the loft, after they’ve been taken in for questioning for the murder, the argument during the morning they found the body, and all around again.  I enjoy a decent murder mystery and I’m a sucker for nonlinear story telling so these basic elements alone were enough to keep me watching. Karl Urban, James Marsden, and Jessica Jones‘s Rachael Taylor give good performances.

Those positives said there are a few major stumbling blocks in the film. The first biggest issue holding it back is that none of the main characters are likable. Each of the five cheating men falls somewhere on the spectrum of douchebaggery. It is difficult to have a central character this is unlikeable but still engaging to watch. Karl Urban does his best as he is the closest we have to a protagonist, but he’s still pretty much an ass through most of the film.

Then we have the mastermind(s) behind the mystery. (Again, spoilers ahoy.) Urban, who is being setup to take the fall for the murder, swears it’s a frame job. And it is! Who is it that would go to such lengths to put these men in hot water, these men who have all cheated on their wives, some of whom have beaten and degraded women brought up to the loft? Why it’s none other than…the other four guys? What? Apparently Karl Urban is such a scumbag that he slept with ALL OF THEIR WIVES at some point. When confronted with proof the four men get together to get even. So these guys are on board with Urban’s sleazy shag pad idea but once he wrongs THEM he’s broken the bro code and that just isn’t allowed. I can understand why it wasn’t just the wives or a scorned lover from a writing standpoint; that’d be TOO obvious an answer to the mystery. But to have this double standard where all five men have tacitly agreed to break the trust of their loved ones only to then feel so wronged when their trust is broken by one of their own felt…wrong.

To top it off, that isn’t the only twist! We need a second reveal. Details aside, all of THAT was orchestrated secretly by just ONE dude. What sent him over the edge? He was rejected by a woman. Splendid.

Overall the movie is spectacularly average. An ok mystery that flows well with a few good performances coupled with some problematic resolutions results in a movie that is…fine. I enjoyed it well enough but I wouldn’t recommend anyone seek it out.

I…um…don’t have a closer…

Other movies I watched this week (potential minor spoilers):

Home – Aliens invade Earth and force all of humanity into cramped internment camps while the invaders usurp our cities and resources as their own. It’s a kids movie! Young girl Tip and alien Oh go on an adventure to right his mistake and find her mom. Aimed more for kids than it is for adults, most of the comedy comes from the aliens just acting silly. Your ability to tolerate this movie will likely be directly tied to whether or not you like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. It’s no Pixar, but it’s probably fun for the younger crowd.

Dead Silence – Better than expected horror flick from the director of Saw. Ventriloquist dummies are inherently creepy and the design of the ghostly woman is unsettling. The effect of everything literally going silent when the ghost is near as well the idea that you need to not scream to survive are both nice touches.

Truth or Die – All I needed was the title. When a hopelessly awkward nerd gets embarrassed during a game of truth or dare he commits suicide. His older brother gathers the bullies together for another deadly round! Full of typical revenge torture porn tropes, this flick gets a couple of points for mixing up which of the cliche characters make it to the end. Also, it’s British, so everyone’s accent is smashing.

Sushi Girl – Tony Todd! Mark Hamill! Sonny Chiba! Danny Trejo! Jeff Fahey! Michael Biehn! This movie is nowhere near as awesome as that cast list sounds! Criminals spend the whole movie beating one of their own to a pulp while we learn about the heist they pulled that went wrong. Despite some creative violence it’s all fairly one note with a predictable ending.

After the Ball – A young woman trying to make her way in the fashion industry overcomes shady coworkers by posing as a man. Hijinks ensue! She gets confused which bathroom to use! She has to go to the same event as herself and her male alter ego! It’s a romp! (Ok, so I wasn’t in control of the remote at this point, but it was a movie I watched, so I counted it.)

Dead Man – I…I don’t…what…I mean…what is this? A Johnny Depp movie I’d never heard of, this bizarre black and white movie is like a dreamy surreal western. I suspect there is some deeply artistic message the director was going for, but I missed it completely. Sometime artsy movies can be super great, and sometimes they can be this.

Click here for a full list of all the movies I’ve seen so far.

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