Montag, 23. März 2015

The Guest

When done right, genre cinema stirs, scratches, satisfies a silly but very human itch for mayhem the way no sophisticated art film can. And American director Adam Wingard's "The Guest", a comically retro-fueled action thriller, does just about everything right.

Wasting no time whatsoever, the film introduces the unannounced arrival of the titular house guest right away- a mysterious, creepily sincere ex-army named David. Claiming to be a close friend of the family's deceased son during service, he stays to become everyone's new best friend until...people start popping up dead all over the place.

Wingard knows exactly what kind of movie he's making and luckily has the guts and chops to go through with it. Blessedly showing zero intellectual pretension, his is a precise, gloriously playful vision characterized by sleek narrative simplicity and a sizzling, single-minded drive. In reducing his protagonists to the most basic constructs of reactions and impulses, he's created a brilliantly coarse, perfectly self-contained other-world in which to stage all kinds of stylized wackiness. And what style there is! From the bold, loud color choices, the bluntly in-your-face choreography to the kitschy, 80's-inspired music, the movie proves to be one of those rare occasions where the purposefully bloated design and sound elements feel so organic and complete as a package you can't help but cave in to their trashy charm.

Dan Stevens gives a sensational performance as the dangerously charismatic killing machine. By turns amused, flirtatious, psychopathically intense and often snapping from one mode to another within split seconds, this is a magnetizing star turn that sustains the pumped-up crazy vibe around it. Of course the film is altogether a pointedly shallow exercise in sensory pleasure, but like most things in life this unhealthy, it's nothing if not extremely appetizing and devilishly gratifying.

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