Starring: Noomi Rapace, Sophie Nélisse, Indira Varma
Director: Vicky Jewson
Running Time: 94 mins
Close is a British film about a bodyguard who is hired to protect a young heiress to a major energy company, but soon finds her task becoming almost impossible when the two women find themselves up against a band of terrifying kidnappers.
While Close seems to have the potential to be an intense, gritty thriller that borders on the war genre, its content and dramatic core leaves a lot to be desired. As a result, rather than ramping up the intensity, the film’s gritty style makes it seem really quite drab, and with little narrative intrigue established at any point throughout, the film really struggled to keep me captivated throughout.
First things first, however, there are a few things to be said in defence of Close. While it’s certainly far from the greatest action thriller ever made, Vicky Jewson’s gritty directing does at least bring home a sense of gravitas and danger into proceedings throughout, using claustrophobic, close-up cinematography in tandem with shaky cam (albeit a little too much use of that), and thereby gives some of the film’s action sequences a little more earthy intensity than would often be the case, even if it doesn’t have any positive effect on the story in the end.
Also, Noomi Rapace’s performance wasn’t all that bad either. She’s a very talented actress who has brought a number of riveting, dark characters to life on screen, and while the rather shallow, predictable screenplay doesn’t do her any favours in bringing something deeper across, she carries off a good sense of mystery surrounding her character, playing on her role as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but adapting that well to a more professional sphere in her role as a bodyguard in this film.
With all that being said, there’s very little else about Close to write home about, and while it isn’t quite the year’s worst film, it suffers hugely from that painfully dull problem of so many middling action movies, and that’s a lack of dynamic, inventive storytelling in the midst of what is an otherwise really rather drab premise.
As I said earlier, the film certainly has the potential to be gritty and intense, and it tries hard to go to slightly darker places than the most generic of straight-to-DVD/Netflix action movies are willing to, but it’s just the lack of real energy or wow factor in both its story and overall style that make Close such a dull watch in the end.
It’s a simple premise, with an heiress and bodyguard finding themselves having to fight for their lives after coming up against a formidable enemy, with the heiress throwing off her traditional shackles and getting down and dirty on the run in order to survive. However, rather than following the line of what many other films do in that scenario, establishing the relationship between the two as the main focus, there just doesn’t seem to be much impetus to break out of the action-oriented side of the story, and as such there’s really not much about the film throughout to really engross you.
And that lack of character interest inevitably plays into how you feel about the action, which, while not too bad, doesn’t have anything like the depth necessary to let you form a connection with the characters when they’re in peril, meaning that all the gritty and loud explosions and gunfights feel entirely gratuitous rather than a genuine part of the plot’s development.
As a result, there’s very little to captivate you at any point in Close, and while it has its merits in places, it’s far from what a good, gritty and intense action thriller should be, proving a really quite drab watch in the end instead, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.1 overall.