"Review: 'Reptile' Exposes its Cinematic Influences in an Overwhelmingly Familiar Plot"cinematicinfluences,moviereview,Reptile,familiarplot
"Review: 'Reptile' Exposes its Cinematic Influences in an Overwhelmingly Familiar Plot"

“Review: ‘Reptile’ Exposes its Cinematic Influences in an Overwhelmingly Familiar Plot”

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Review: “Reptile” Falls Short of Delivering the Allure of Benicio Del Toro

The Predictable Magnetism of Benicio Del Toro

Benicio Del Toro is undeniably a captivating actor. With his piercing eyes, hulking frame, and weary yet coiled delivery, he has the ability to draw viewers into his performances. Del Toro possesses a multifaceted quality that suggests there is more to discover, making each scene he appears in an invitation for the audience to delve deeper. He excels in roles that revolve around tension and the hidden secrets of bad people. In “Reptile,” a new movie directed by Grant Singer, Del Toro takes the spotlight as a calloused detective investigating a young woman’s murder. However, while Del Toro’s performance is undoubtedly compelling, the movie itself falls short in matching his unpredictable charm.

A Forced Eeriness that Hinders the Film

Reptile” attempts to create an atmosphere of eerie mystery, but instead, it becomes increasingly ponderous and unfocused as the narrative progresses. The film’s director and co-writer, Grant Singer, tries to harness Del Toro’s magnetism by infusing the story with a sense of forced eeriness. However, this approach only hampers the film’s potential and leaves it feeling disjointed. The plot unfolds with a prologue featuring scenes reminiscent of the elliptical openings popularized by shows like “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” We are introduced to a smarmy real estate agent named Will Grady, played by Justin Timberlake, whose suspicious demeanor and shady dealings come under scrutiny after he discovers the mutilated body of his colleague and girlfriend, Summer (Matilda Lutz).

An Unconvincing Blend of Influences

While it is not uncommon for films to take inspiration from successful thrillers of the past, “Reptile” feels like a mishmash of borrowed ideas. Singer’s directorial agenda seems to revolve around keeping the audience constantly questioning the motives of every character, regardless of whether it serves the story or makes sense. This pervasive mood of mistrust, reminiscent of ’70s thrillers like “The Conversation” and “The Parallax View,” becomes the sole note of the film. However, instead of presenting a cohesive vision, “Reptile” drifts through variations of unease borrowed from other sources. The dissonant score by Yair Elazar Glotman, for example, feels as if it belongs in a haunted-house movie rather than a crime mystery.

The Fallout of Purposeful Gloom

The film’s commitment to maintaining an aura of gloom takes its toll on the audience’s engagement. Rather than surprising or intriguing the viewer, the constant atmosphere of unease numbs them to any genuine tension or surprises. Even Del Toro’s committed portrayal of a disillusioned detective feels stifled by the film’s lack of coherence. His chemistry with Alicia Silverstone, who plays his smart and forthright wife, is overshadowed by the film’s preoccupation with creating paranoia and mistrust. Silverstone’s character, though promising, is treated more as a plot device for generating tension rather than being given the opportunity to fully develop.

Underutilized Supporting Cast

In addition to Del Toro and Silverstone, the film features a supporting cast that includes Justin Timberlake, Ato Essandoh, Eric Bogosian, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Frances Fisher. Unfortunately, these talented actors are given very little to work with and barely register as anything more than cogs in the plot. Their characters lack depth and fail to leave a lasting impression.

Editorial: An Opportunity Missed

Reptile” presents a missed opportunity for both the filmmakers and the audience. While the movie occasionally manages to strike a note of tension or insight, it ultimately fails to deliver on its potential. The film’s lack of narrative coherence and its forced sense of eeriness overshadow the standout performance of Benicio Del Toro. It is evident that the star’s allure could have been better utilized in a different production, one that allowed his talents to truly shine.

Advice and Conclusion

If you are a fan of Benicio Del Toro’s work and are intrigued by atmospheric mysteries, you may still find “Reptile” worth watching. Despite its flaws, the film does have moments of tension and occasional insights. However, if you are seeking a well-crafted and cohesive narrative that fully capitalizes on Del Toro’s talents, you may be disappointed. Ultimately, “Reptile” falls short of its potential, leaving the audience longing for a better showcase of Del Toro’s magnetic presence on screen.


<< photo by Bruno Massao >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Hannah McKenzie

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