‘Close’ Netflix Review
The recently released Close, starring Noomi Repace, Indira Varma, and Sophie Nelisse is the newest feature-length, action thriller to be released on Netflix. There is an incredible amount of original content being delivered by the streaming service in 2019, and Close is one of a handful to get us started in January. The creative team of Vicky Jewson and Rupert Whitaker take on an old hat concept in old hat ways that feels like a “Frankenstein’s Monster” of an action thriller. With pieces of Jason Bourne, Taken, Mission Impossible, and a dash of Cinderella all rolled into a race through Morocco for vindication and validation.
Noomi Rapace is a brilliant actress. She holds the character of Sam Carlson’s story as high as possible as she embraces the professionalism and grit needed to convince the viewer that she is a world-class bodyguard. Her ability to carry a story has only grown since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She has proven that she is more than the current darling of Netflix, and should get top billing for all strong, brooding female lead roles in the future.
Her counterparts are serviceable, progress the story, and at times deliver some impressive action chops to help hold us over until Rapace returns. Indira Varma plays an interestingly similar character as her portrayal of Ellaria Sand in Game of Thrones. The mysterious, calculated matriarch that walks with feet on both sides of morality works well for her. Outside of clothing and setting, the two are almost interchangeable.
Sophie Nelisse does her best to carry a difficult character backstory. While she may have missed the mark, it was not for lack of effort. She gives emotion in the right places, delivers dialog that advances the story, and is able to perform the physical tasks of Zoe, the young rebellious and abandoned heiress. You just never fully buy into what she is trying to do.
Conceptually, this film works because it has been done before. Bad guy wants money, tries to kidnap the kid for leverage. Is the bad guy really who we think it is, or is it the other person with an accent? How will they escape one imminently dangerous scenario with such limited resources? How many bullets does that weapon hold? Unfortunately, it has all been done just a bit better before. The pacing is choppy, and it feels likes you’re either full sprint from one thing to the next, or you’re bogged down with forced emotion. Make no mistake, the set pieces are brilliant, the film locations are beautifully shot, and if you watch this just for Rapace you will finish with some sense of satisfaction.
Close brought a primarily female cast and crew together for an intense ride through North Africa. It may not be worth the price of admission in a theater for some, but you already pay for Netflix, and it has a more than manageable run time of 94 minutes, so definitely watch it. You are going to be hit with the price hike soon because of the original content, so may as well watch what you’re producing.
- Movie Itself