Great performance from the actor in a dark and ambitious thriller that sees him alongside Justin Timberlake, Alicia Silverstone, Eric Bogosian and Michael Pitt. The review of Reptile by Federico Gironi.
Like many, many, the first time I became aware of the existence of Benicio Del Toro it was when I saw The usual suspects. Her Fester, among the other characters, among a group of not bad actors, clearly stood out.
No, that’s not correct: before that there was the character of Dario of 007 with Timothy Dalton.
In any case, from then on, the game was easy: film after film, role after role, I saw Del Toro become better and better and more charismatic as his dark circles and his physical heaviness increase, fundamental in giving him that careless and wrinkled gravity that is the basis of an irresistible magnetism. Because, and perhaps we never remember this enough, a great actor is not only seen by how he pronounces his lines, but by how he moves and uses his body, in space and on the screen, appearance included.
All this to say Reptile it won’t be a masterpiece (but it’s not crap either), but it’s worth seeing just for how Benicio Del Toro is involved in this film. As he inhabits it, he suffers it, he dominates it.
In the movie Del Toro And Tom Nichols a policeman from Scarborough, which is not the English one from the fair sung by Simon & Garfunkel, but is in Maine. Tom ended up in the province with his wife (Alicia Silverstone) when he had to leave Philadelphia following a scandal involving his work partner, and her uncle (Eric Bogosian) offered him a position in the local district. When the beautiful young wife of a well-known real estate agent (she is Matilda Lutzhis Justin Timberlake) is brutally killed in one of the houses she was selling, Tom begins to investigate. And the more he investigates, the more he seems to sink into a swamp of lies, silence and secrets that seem not only to concern the suspects, but also the people closest to him.
The plot is that of a thrillercertainly, and a thriller in all respects, this film marks the film directorial debut of Grant Singerwell-known director of commercials and video clips (he appears in a cameo here Sky Ferreira, who worked with Singer several times). But Singer he knows very well that the plot is almost just a pretext – also because we understand where it will end up rather soon – to stage a character, a paranoia, an actor’s performance.
Excellently photographed by Mike Gioulakis (It Follows, Us, Tammy Faye’s eyes), honestly shot, with atmospheres and situations including a certain desired underlying coldness, clearly inspired by those of certain cinema David Finchersimilar in some ways also to Until the last clue Of John Lee Hancock, Reptile it’s a film that doesn’t always support the weight of its ambitions, and that sometimes stumbles a little awkwardly, but that finds its reason for being in the shadows, in the ambiguities of situations and even more in the magnificent pain of its protagonistalso a screenwriter with the director and with a certain Benjamin Brewer.
“There’s only one thing I love almost as much as you do, and that’s being a cop,” Tom tells his wife at one point. “I just don’t like this job,” he adds. It is a symbolic phrase of the condition of Del Toro’s character, in search of an existential harmony that is denied to him by circumstances, and that the more he tries to love what is around him, the more he sees its dark sides, its ambiguities, its betrayals.
The way in which Del Toro conveys with body language and looks the psychological burden of all this, of the progressive awareness of the rot that surrounds him, reminds us for the umpteenth time of his quality as an actorand raise the level of everything Reptile.
A film that may not be a masterpiece (but it’s not rubbish either), but that for the average of what Netflix offers, it is definitely to be taken into account.