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The Loft (2014)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/26/2015
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/13/2015
It's odd to think that it has been quite some time that we have talked about a remake. Is the trend actually dying? It has been even longer still since we've talked about a foreign director remaking their own film for a Hollywood studio. This occurred with movies like The Grudge, The Vanishing, and Funny Games. It doesn't happen often, but when it does the same question always arises -- If the studio believed in the movie and the director that much, why not just push the foreign version? (I think we all know the answer to that question, but it's still asked.) The latest example is The Loft. Originally made in Belgium by Director Erik Van Looy, the thriller has been given an overhaul with an American cast.
The Loft focuses on four friends -- Vincent (Karl Urban), Chris (James Marsden), Luke (Wentworth Miller), and Mary (Eric Stonestreet) -- and Chris' half-brother Philip (Matthias Schoenaerts). Vincent is a successful architect who has designed a posh high-rise apartment building. He makes an offer to his friends, all of whom are married -- purchase one of the apartments as a getaway, specifically a place where they can take women without worrying about prying eyes or hotel receipts. The guys go for out and get regular use out of the place with no problem, until one morning with Luke arrives to find a dead woman on the bed. To make matters worse, she's been handcuffed to the bed. The rest of the men arrive at the apartment and they try to decide what to do. As questions arise, accusations fly and many secrets from the past are revealed. But, the questions remains -- who is this woman and who killed her?
The Loft is a twisty thriller which jumps around in time as it slowly unfolds the story and introduces us to the characters and their particular personalities and motivations. The film opens with the discovery of the dead body and then goes back to explain how the guys got the apartment. From there, we learn about each individual character and eventually learn who the woman is. But, that's only half of the story. We then learn how the woman died, and eventually why she died and who was responsible. Along the way, we see that nothing is as it seems and that the five men don't know each other as well as they think they do.
I've said this before and I'll say it again -- In a world where so many movies barely have a story, I hate to accuse any movie of being over-written, but The Loft is simply too twisty for its own good. The movie starts at the very end -- my biggest screen-writing pet peeve -- with a mystery on top of the other mysteries, which is not resolved until the very end. From there, the movie almost seems determined to not tell the story in any sort of linear manner. While we who live in this post-Pulp Fiction world are accustomed to movies which play with time, The Loft borders on being frustrating, as we simply long for two scenes in a row which are from the same time-frame. The last act becomes very tedious, as twist upon twist is thrown at us and we simply want to know who killed the girl so that we can go home.
It's interesting to note that The Loft features several party scenes, as the film itself is like the party guest who overstays their welcome. At first, the twisty nature of the story, and the soap-opera-like salacious behavior of the men is intriguing. And during the middle part of film, the viewer will find themselves falling for the red herrings and attempting to guess exactly what happened. But, the third act will have you checking the running time, which is never a good sign. The movie has an impressive cast, but one has to wonder if James Marsden and Karl Urban will ever be in a hit movie which lies outside of a franchise. It's also interesting to note that Eric Stonestreet's character is almost over-the-top in his heterosexuality, as if he's trying to distance himself from his well-known character on Modern Family. When it comes to erotic thrillers, you can do much better than The Loft, but be prepared to feel a desire to put this apartment on the market.
The Loft makes architecture seem like a very glamorous profession on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 34 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture is decidedly crisp and the level of detail is notably good. The depth also works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects show good separation and detail. The surround sound effects are very noticeable during the party and nightclub scenes and offer some individual sounds. The finale takes place in the rain and we feel surrounded by the water.
The Loft Blu-ray Disc contains no extra features.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long