film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Good Neighbor 2022 * * * Stars


"David we hit something". Did you now. It wasn't a squirrel or a possum?

So OK, in 2022's The Good Neighbor, the neighbor is anything but. He's got attachment issues, he's prying, he's latent, and in the end, he's just pure evil. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Robert and let's just call him the "bad" neighbor shall we. He's one of those actors that excels at giving a manipulative, calculating performance. Exhibit B would be Woody Allen's Match Point.

Anyway, The Good Neighbor is shot by German Stephan Rick. His direction is streamlined and aseptic yet forlorn, giving "Neighbor" the feeling of being somewhere between the greatest Lifetime movie ever and 1998's A Simple Plan. Rick keeps you guessing and guessing as he almost numbs you the viewer. "Neighbor" isn't flashy nor is it horrific (most of the murders show the aftermath). Until it runs out of steam however, the film turns enough psychological screws to undo a dresser. You can count on it. 

Taking place and filmed in Latvia, The Good Neighbor is about a couple of neighbors who go out for drinks, drive home, and commit a hit and run via a young woman on a bike. Yup, these movies tend to make my ears perk up. Yeah the events are tragic but you're completely involved, wondering how these two dudes are gonna try to cover up the pseudo crime. Witnesses (or non-witnesses) are offed, evidence is shellacked, and when it comes to the detectives, the house always wins (or does it?). 

"Neighbor" has casting that is spot-on, its editing for the most part, is crisp, and the Lativa setting provides a sort of sterling authenticity. If the flick didn't overplay its hand, add layers, and turn into a rather rote thriller, I would've praised it more. Oh well, "Neighbor" is worth renting at the "closest" Redbox. Natch.  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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