MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Loft’ Is Sleazy & Stupid, But Also Fun

The-loft

Film: The Loft
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden
Directed by: Erik Van Looy

Aside from having enough ridiculous twists to frustrate even the most diehard whodunnit fan, The Loft is an enjoyable piece of trash cinema that hates men almost as much as it hates women.

It all starts simple enough: Five friends, more or less lead by the ever-charming Vince (Karl Urban), decide to share a loft that they keep hidden from their wives, family, and essentially everyone else they see on a day-to-day basis. It’s their own private oasis, where drugs and sex with strangers can be enjoyed without the worry of questionable charges later appearing on someone’s checking account. It’s a great idea for someone who wants to do something mischievous, and it works like a charm until a mysterious blonde woman turns up dead and handcuff to the bed. It’s at this point the story really begins, and the five friends soon find the bonds of their brotherhood put to the test.

All of this talk about the possibility of sex and drug use may sound fun and appealing at first, but in execution it’s largely a bore. For a film that boasts an R rating, there is next to no nudity, and the only the drug is a few moments of non-glamourous cocaine consumption. There is sex as well, but most of it happens during the opening credits, and the stuff that doesn’t is contextually as far from sexy as possible.

As the friends try and piece together what happened in the getaway the share, the film cuts to various points in the past and immediate future to further complicate the narrative. Some of these time jumps provide context for relationships and their obvious complications, while others reveal important details to the cause of the blonde woman’s death. Through it all you get the sense these guys would do anything to make sure the other one is okay, but you never understand why the feel this way. Did they all grow up together? How did they meet? The only thing they seem to have in common is a desire for a life other than the one they currently have, and that isn’t enough to make their bond all that believable.

Going into The Loft it’s best to assume everyone is the worst kind of person. Men are heartless monsters, filled with lies and an unquenchable sexual thirst that knows no end, while women are separated into either whores or bitches. You don’t really get a sense of the wives’ lives away from their husbands, but in their brief moments of screen time you’re made to believe everyone is miserable for one reason or another. There is no middle ground, and there certainly is no innocent victim. Everyone is someone you wouldn’t want to be in love with, and it’s because of this complete lack of empathy for anyone involved in the central narrative that many may never connect with the film in any way.

The Loft looks great and its cast performs admirably, especially the one-two combination of Karl Urban and James Marsden, but the story is told and edited together in such a way that it feels incredibly cheap. There are many twists, but most of them are based on things the audience never knows in the first place. It’s not as if we see one story play out, and then more and more about what happened in that story gets revealed. The Loft tells one story by using flashbacks to moments that the audience would otherwise never know took place in order to muddy up the suspect pool. It’s a dirty, cheap trick that hopes the moral ambiguity of the men will be shocking enough to make up for the lack of true shock value. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

If The Loft could deliver its twists while sharing a more straightforward narrative it would be a far more impressive feat. It still wouldn’t be a great film, but it would it move quicker and the twists would have greater impact on the viewer. As is, there are some decent performance built on talented actors doing the best they can with lackluster material. The film wants so desperately to have the sleazy appeal of an early 90s erotic thriller, but it misses almost every important mark needed to make that happen. Without the performances The Loft wouldn’t be worth a worth, and even with them you’re fine to wait until it arrives on Netflix to see what happens in the end.

Grade: C-

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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