‘The Good Neighbor’ Review: Maintaining a Friendship Can Be Murder


Sticking to the thriller style which is been his stomping floor on equally the massive and modest display screen, Stephan Rick’s 2nd English-language film “The Excellent Neighbor” is a remake of his 2011 German-language debut attribute of the similar title. The location has adjusted (to Latvia, presumably for financing reasons), but the tale stays largely untouched. Now Luke Kleintank and Jonathan Rhys Meyers participate in new acquaintances whose shared complicity in an accidental demise generates progressively unsavory conflict.

Capable performances and a slick veneer make this revamp go down effortlessly more than enough. Still, just one needs Rick experienced placed extra emphasis on Hitchcockian suspense, somewhat than trusting the gradual-transferring tale will maintain us by using plot and character complexities that truly aren’t especially apparent.

American journalist David (Kleintank of the sequence “FBI: International” and “Man in the Large Castle”) has approved a work with the “European Press Network” in Riga in the wake of a negative romance separation. When he will get settled, his editor Grant (Bruce Davison) is permitting him stay at a house he owns outside city. Hence he fulfills future-doorway neighbor Robert (Rhys Meyers), who proves beneficial in getting a stubborn car began. In thanks, David invites the Latvian-British guy out for a drink. They close up at a club exactly where the new male satisfies yet another Brit, vivacious Janine (Ieva Florence), putting sparks sufficient that they trade numbers prior to she pedals off dwelling.

Alas, on the tipsy push back to their individual abodes, the two men plow ideal into a bicyclist riding down the middle of a darkish lane — one who is unmistakably Janine, and now unmistakably dead. Robert persuades stricken David there’s almost nothing they can do for her, and that getting in touch with the law enforcement would only land them the two in prison. So a protect-up commences that the area appears to hope will bind him to his new best friend.

But David’s allegiance has a queasy edge, as do his actions every time it seems they could be uncovered out. Inevitably that starts to imperil other individuals, not least Janine’s sister Vanessa (Eloise Smyth), with whom David turns into included at the time she seeks his support — due to the fact, awkwardly, he’s been assigned to report on the situation of her sibling’s dying. (By no means thoughts inquiring why an intercontinental news company would bother masking a regional hit-and-operate tale.) Pointless to say, that new attachment threatens the increasingly possessive, creepy Robert.

An occasionally motivated actor who can also be wholly off in the completely wrong part, Rhys Meyers is in fantastic kind earning Robert enjoyable ample to lure in unwary David, but also nuts enough to trigger the viewer’s alarms early on. Of class, with its echoes of anything from “Strangers on a Train” to “Single White Feminine,” the essential dynamic between the two prospects is a familiar just one. Robert is specified practically no backstory, and the script is not genuinely shocking or intelligent more than enough to make him a memorable villain, so the actor can only get it so much. (The film does not explicitly venture into retro “Crazy Homicidal Gay Usurper” territory, nevertheless there’s a suggestive whiff of that.) Kleintank is Okay in his far more colorless protagonist section, while Smyth will get some grit into the grieving sister, and Davison is superior as standard.

This type of slippery-slope narrative can hardly aid holding our awareness, even if Rick does minimal to optimize its rigidity, keeping violence largely off-display screen and protecting a rate which is much from taut. The movie has a widescreen appear that flatters Riga, but its handsome brightness does not stir a lot suspenseful ambiance. (Nor does Enis Rotthoff’s unique rating.)

These factors would subject a lot less if “The Great Neighbor” had been sufficiently ingenious in its twists or devious in psychological nuance. But it is not — in point, there are some sloppy information that diminish meant major moments, like a kayaking mishap that doesn’t make substantially feeling, or a fake alibi Vanessa improbably sees through before the law enforcement do.

In the close, this 2nd “Good Neighbor” (not to be confused with an unrelated interim film of the similar identify, starring James Caan) is polished and very well-acted plenty of to present a fairly entertaining 90 minutes or so. But it is not first, tense, or even plausible ample to prevent a feeling of reasonable letdown as soon as that span has handed.

“The Superior Neighbor” opens June 17 on 10 U.S. screens, simultaneous with on need start.

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