Sawyer (Claire Foy) is accidentally committed into a mental institute on what turns out to be an insurance scam, after befriending a fellow “inmate” (who was quite clearly a journalist from the off) she finds herself under threat of an old familiar face.
I have just spent the last 15 minutes reading other people’s reviews (something I rarely do) on this film to try and structure how to write what I thought because, to be quite frank, I can’t tell if this film was utter brilliance or completely dreadful.
All I found from my readings were people applauding Soderberg for filming the entire thing on an iPhone. A detail I think he should have kept quiet until after the release as all I could think throughout the film was “this was shot on an iPhone”. I don’t really think it added anything special to it, if anything it just made me feel a bit motion sick from all the insane closeups and bad use of framing. It was clever in the sense it felt very intrusive and claustrophobic but that’s something that could have been achieved by shooting in the conventional way.
The story itself was definitely gripping but the plot didn’t quite take me where I thought it was going to. I was waiting for some big psychological twist at the end but actually it stayed fairly tame in terms of storyline. There also seemed to be some big gaping holes throughout and moments where I found myself thinking “what on earth would she have done that for?” – one of the reviews I read said it seemed like a script written in college that is finally being made and I totally agree on that. The script itself is weak.
There are some stand out performances throughout the film, Claire Foy outdoes herself in the lead with a strong supporting cast from Juno Temple, Joshua Leonard and Jay Pharoah. Foy has definitely proven herself in this role given that the only thing most people know her as is the Queen in Netflix’ The Crown.
I also have the same issue with it that I had with Get Out. It started off as a very clever concept and didn’t mess about with getting right into the story and the first half was strong. It got to the halfway mark and I found myself checking my watch and feeling bored. “Girl gets captured, girl figures out way to escape, girl escapes, girl kills capturer” which is exactly what I thought of Get Out. Textbook.
Anyway, in terms of film it was enjoyable for one watch but I doubt I’ll see it again. The cleverness of shooting on an iPhone was wasted and the plot was weak. Strong performances throughout and how could we have a film set in Boston without our favourite Bostonian making a cheeky cameo? (Easily my favourite part).