Monday, 11 February 2013

Dream House - film review

Dream House is a 2011 American movie starring three British actors and a New Zealander, and a sense of contrariness persists throughout the film. It starts in a fairly conventional way, veers off in a new direction at the half way stage and ends with a mixture of dramatic violence and mawkishness. Interesting, but rather odd.

At the start, we are introduced to Daniel Craig as Will, who has given up a top job in publishing to downshift with his wife Libby and their two adorable daughters. They have moved into a new house in an idyllic setting, but something is amiss. Who has left flowers on the doorstep? Who is the mysterious character hanging around the house at night? What is going on in the cellar? It turns out that murder was done in the house five years earlier, but when Will tries to investigate what happened to the killer, he is given shocking news.

Libby is played by Rachel Weisz (now Mrs Craig) and their glamorous neighbour by Naomi Watts. Marton Csokas, who impressed me very much when playing the Spanish cop Falcon in the TV versions of Robert Wilson's books, is the neighbour's estranged husband. They are all very talented performers,and their quality makes the film watchable.

Overall, however, I had reservations. I would not say Dream House is formulaic, but it felt rather like a blend of several formulas, an unevenness of tone and treatment persisting throughout. My impression was that the scriptwriter had a very good story idea, but nobody was quite sure how best to execute it. The Rotten Tomatoes rating of the film is abysmally low,but I think it's rather better than the basement ranking suggests. One thing is for sure, however. Skyfall it ain't.

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