film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Penthouse 2021 * * Stars


"What did you actually see?" I saw The Penthouse and you know what, I probably don't plan on seeing it again. At least not through my "rear window". Natch. 

Anyway, 2021's "Penthouse" is my latest write-up. For once, the title actually fits what's going on in the movie. "Penthouse" is about a platonic married couple who purchase an 11th floor penthouse with great vistas. They also spy on a pseudo neighbor who lives on a boat and might be a cold-blooded killer (come on, you just know he is). 

The Penthouse is not a violent thriller but a slow-burner and a low budget churner. Not a lot happens at least not what we the audience, can see. Suggesting something Hitchcockian, using flighty camera angles, and feeling like an art house version of a Lifetime pic, "Penthouse" has acting that's mediocre, suspense that's wonted, and direction that's well, standard. Despite all this, the viewer could easily get sucked in waiting for the final outcome (I did cause I'm just easily deceived).

So yeah, The Penthouse has an ending that's as laughable, unceremonious, and anti-climatic as I can remember. If the film's director (Massimiliano Cerchi) needed a few more takes to get what he wanted, he probably should have used them. The music pounces in at all the wrong moments, a dog escapes by itself on a boat, and the interplay between the lead characters feels like junior high kids making art with a camcorder. 

Bottom line: The Penthouse has one decent performance that comes from entitled antagonist Michael Pare (he plays scruffy scammer Charles). And the flick does have a few tense moments where the "violence of the mind" is present and ever thought over. Most of the time though, "Penthouse" is more a cinematic "outhouse" than a luxurious fit. A mixed "view" to a kill. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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