***NOTE: This movie is in European format and will not play on American machines UNLESS you unlock your existing player. This is very easily done and will then allow you to enjoy all region DVDs uninterrupted . Go online to various sites that offer this, look for your brand and model, write down the code and follow the simple instructions. (Or ask any passing ten year old to do it for you!)
NO one star "reviews" whining about "Won't play on my player"! Now read on.
Tired Of American movies with their obligatory car chases, explosions and helicopters?
Hanging out for some damn good writing and a plot that you don't guess the ending to about three minutes into the film?
Then "The Loft" is definitely one for you.
Yes, it's in Dutch, .....but don't let that put you off as it is subtitled very professionally and they are easy to read.
This is a well crafted thriller which will actually keep you guessing as its convolutions unfold.
The basics revolve around an architects new building in which he has constructed a private "loft" apartment, ...which he decides to maintain as a secret rendezvous where he can carry out his extra-marital sexual encounters.
He decides to let four of his close mates also use it as a convenient trysting place and gives them each a key, ...which he codes so as no more can be cut.
All of course are sworn to secrecy in order to enjoy this privilege without the knowledge of their respective wives.
Apparently all goes well until one morning one of the key-holders enters the loft to find a very serious crime has been committed, and one which not only threatens to involve the police, but expose their clandestine affairs and ruin their marriages, if not their whole lives.
What started as a "harmless" bit-on-the-side, ...has now become a full-on major problem.
The five men are quite differing characters. There's the drunken sleazy bore, the drug-fuelled psychopath, the analytical psychologist, the quiet introvert and of course the architect himself who is something of a manipulator.
Their previous closeness immediately begins to break down with accusations and counter inferences flying wildly.
Who is responsible, ...and how can they all make this just go away so no one has to pay the penalty of being found out?
The action is largely (but not exclusively) based within the apartment itself, ...and the director makes the building something of a character in the narrative. It features this very sharp looming edge, ....and it becomes almost like a Titanic bow, plowing its way to it's date with tragedy.
All the performances are excellent, ...truly believable, with no one chewing the scenery.
The cast are "unknowns" to most of us non-Europeans, but all the better for that.
I do find familiar faces distracting from the character being played, ..plus the fact when is Tom Cruise ever anything else but Tom Cruise?
If like me, you're intrigued by mysteries, then you will be forever coming up with your own theories as to what's REALLY going on here. These will constantly change as we are shown more and more aspects of just what has preceded in the men's lives who are facing this situation.
Without giving anything away, there are more than just the one "solution" I warn you, ....and just when you think you've pinned it down and the movie is about to end, ...it most certainly isn't!!!
This makes The Loft a hugely engaging movie to watch, and one which will ultimately mystify, fascinate and amaze with its cleverly constructed plot.
It's an acute observation of the duplicity of men, mate-ship and its ties, and just what we owe to friends and where the boundaries might lie.
The writing itself is so often the last thing to be considered with so much current American cinema. As long as they've signed a "big name", got a budget for CGI, hired a helicopter and got at least twenty cars to smash up, they just start shooting. Any plot can be construed between takes it seems.
"The Loft" is a most welcome antithesis of this idea.
A movie where you do not have to park your brain in neutral before watching! In fact, you can actually use it to engage with the story!
Five stars all the way.