Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Two Paragraph Review: Reptile (2023)


Once you start watching Reptile, you somewhat willingly or unwillingly expect that the film will try to dazzle you with its star-studded cast. The relatively simple and narratively straightforward thriller about the murder of a young woman casts Benicio del Toro as the main character and gentle-spoken detective Tom Nichols. But, del Toro is joined by Justin Timberlake and Alicia Silverstone, followed by Eric Bogosian, Ato Essandoh, Domenick Lombardozzi, and the always fantastic Michael Pitt. Yet, along with these amazing actors, Reptile has a much stronger ace up its sleeve.

The cast, consisting of both global superstars and excellent character actors quickly comes into play. But, the thing that really impressed me about Reptile is its atmosphere. Combining natural lights and menacing sound design, as well as the odd-feeling spaces that the detectives and involved civilians inhabit, the first-time feature film director Grant Signer created something worth of an early David Lynch movie. The artistic aura of the film begins and ends with a tone of weariness and oppression, followed by a sense of imminent danger that is always just around the corner. The portrayal of the unfolding story fails to follow the same amazing atmosphere, but the film still manages to create something both unique and instantly appealing. I have a strong gut feeling that Singer’s next film could easily outdo that.