Starring: leighton Meester
Directed By: Kim Farrant
Where I Watched It: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Audio Description Provided By: International Digital Works
Narration Written By Liz Gutman
The Plot: When two friends head to Croatia for a weekend away, what starts out as a fun time, quickly turns into a nightmare when one goes missing, and the other must prove she has nothing to do with her friends disappearance. Sounds like it was ripped from the headlines, no?
What Works: This film is better than it has any right to be. I assumed I was walking into another Brazen, just some random Netflix vomit churned out, but this was surprisingly good, despite Leighton Meester. The actual plot isn’t that close to that thing you read about in the news, because apparently this was a book.
So, you get a rather interesting story of one American girl who now lives in Britain who is looking for her British best friend in Croatia, where she enlists the help of a Syrian cab driver, because they unite in the common interest that they both speak Arabic. I know it sounds like “one of those movies”, but I swear to God this film is good at fucking with you.
In addition to keeping our female protagonist a possible suspect, because she has these weird flashbacks, the film introduces a barrage of suspects, all with a surprisingly good reason to kill her best friend. So you really do spend a good amount of time thinking you know who did it, just for the film to convince you that someone else did, then twist that around into something else. It’s very twisty, and surprisingly good at it.
What Doesn’t Work: In many ways, I wish we had a different female lead. I like Leighton Meester, but even I can recognize that she’s limited, and very surface with her performances. I never really bought the extreme ends of her character, and I thought the material given to her was beyond her abilities. The script is good enough to have attracted a solid actress. I would have loved to see what a better actress, perhaps a Scarlett Johansson, would have done with this plot.
I will admit that I did get the ending right, but I also was swayed away from it at one point, only to be swayed back. So, i enjoyed being pulled around, but you might still figure it out, despite the best efforts of the script.
There are some usual character choices made, like in horror movies where a character does something you think a real human wouldn’t do, but it’s not pervasive. These are mostly well written characters, as the film hinges on them all being believable as dangerous.
The Blind Perspective: Even this film had good audio description, better than it deserved. i successfully picked up on all the details of the plot, and enjoyed the mystery. My only qualm with the description was the choice to almost never describe the flashbacks. Meester’s character has many brief flashbacks that are never described, and I would have loved to know what the visual audience was seeing in those moments. Otherwise, a really nice job.
Final Thoughts: While the films main star is also its weakest link, this random Netflix film was made with tender love and care. It’s greatest sin was not getting a better female lead. And at just over 90 minutes, the pacing is terrific, and it just keeps running forward. There’s no lag, it’s just a solid watch from beginning to end.
Final Grade: B+