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Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Neighbor 2018 * * 1/2 Stars

The NeighborDirector: Aaron Harvey
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: William Fichtner, Jessica McNamee, Michael Rosenbaum

The Neighbor (my latest review) is a slow-moving, melancholy vehicle that features a comatose performance by William Fichtner (his inspiration for creating this persona seems unknown to me). As far as new releases go in 2018, "Neighbor" gets its Rear Window fix while dabbling in would-be, marital affairs. It isn't substandard but it fails to get my full recommendation.

Image result for The neighbor william fichtner movie scenesOn the surface, The Neighbor could be a drama/thriller that involves a number of John Q. Citizens. Look closer though because it's really about Fichtner's gardener slash at-home writer named Mike. Mike is a guy who according to his wife, might be going through a mid-life crisis. He talks slow, comes off like a wounded puppy dog, and goes through the motions as if he might've suffered a mild stroke some years ago.

Mike becomes obsessed with a guileless couple who lives next door to him. One of them is an attractive woman who's young enough to be his daughter. The other is an abusive, alcoholic husband who sells snazzy automobiles. Mikey gradually intervenes with their relationship until all heck breaks loose (sort of). The whole pic is set to a backdrop of jejune suburbia. There are scenes involving faded palm trees, domestic squabbles, badly advising best friends, and neighborhood barbecues.

Related imageDirector Aaron Harvey (he helmed 2011's Catch .44) shoots "Neighbor" almost like an art film that wishes it could've blossomed into "popcorn" territory. His stride is glacial as he lets every enclosed scene play out at a snail's pace. Yeah Harvey's flick builds up to a small amount of tension. However, The Neighbor's ending leaves you teetering too far on the edge of something. Character motivations aren't fully realized and the tempering nature of the antagonist (and the protagonist who may be his own antagonist) is rather ill-defined. Just call "Neighbor" "American beautified" or a more subdued version of 2007's Disturbia. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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