Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
When I first saw the trailer for this movie 'The Loft', I'm thinking it might have a chance.  I like the concept of some long time married dudes having a secret place where they can behave badly, I like the thought that something goes terribly wrong in this little hideaway leading to distrust, sleight of hand and mystery, and I'm liking the cast.  It's looking like we may have a slightly sleazy, but somewhat higher brow erotic thriller on our hands.  Plus the guy that directed this movie, Eric Van Looy, has already directed this very same movie like a hundred times in 18 different languages.  Well, we didn't get that slightly sleazy erotic thriller I was looking for.  Instead I got some silly nonsense which still was entertaining me somewhat, until it went completely bonkers at the end in an effort to wrap itself up.  Bonkers I tell you.

Our principles are Vincent (Karl Urban) the super slick and slimy real estate developer who has built this getaway, his friends Chris (James Mardsen) the psychiatrist and 'good guy' of the group, the quietly creepy Luke (Wentworth Miller), Chris's ultra violent and unstable half-brother Phillip (Matthias Schoenaerts), and the boorish, consistently inappropriate Marty as played by Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet.  For reasons I can't put my finger on, Stonestreet was completely frozen out of that trailer I saw.  Shocked to even see him in this movie.  Maybe he's not hot enough to put in a trailer, or maybe the fact his character is gay on Modern Family kept him out of this trailer.  Either way it's an outrage and it's nigh time for fat dudes to rise up!  Or maybe get in shape.  I choose rise up!

So if you've seen this trailer you know that there's a bloody dead blonde handcuffed to the bed with some cryptic Latin written in blood on the headboard.  All five of our guys are in the loft assaying this situation trying to figure out who killed this woman.  Logically speaking, since they are the only ones with keys to this joint, it has to be one of them.  But not so fastů you haven't met these guys wives, because every single one of them looks like they are capable of murder.  In particular Chris's wife Allison (Rhona Mitra) who seems to hate the entire planet Earth, and Luke's wife Ellie (Elaine Cassidy) who looks like the devil.  A cute version of the devil, but the devil nonetheless.  And then there's Chris's liaison Anne (Racheal Taylor) who mentions a few things that also cast her into suspicion as a suspect as well.
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So our boys try to work out the details in their brains, brains which we will admit aren't very impressive, all things considered, until we get to the truth of the matter.  And it is this truth that a film which was pretty shaky in keeping itself together to begin with, just falls completely apart.  

As 'The Loft' starts off we're kind of liking it, if for no other reason than the cast is a solid one.  Karl Urban probably isn't the rangiest actor around, but he has a certain charm and presence about him that is undeniable.  Eric Stonestreet probably relished the opportunity to bang chicks in the bathroom as opposed to making out with Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Modern Family, and Wentworth Miller, as arguably the most talented actor of the bunch, gets the opportunity to play another solidly weird character.  It's a shame that they had the beautiful Rhona Mitra sport a mad-on throughout the whole movie, but I guess we had to justify a reason as to why our 'good guy' of the group was cheating on her in the first place.

Also taking into account the slick look of the picture and the fact that there is a genuine mystery taking place since I was in the dark with who and why this crime is committed, I was able to overlook the often painful dialog coming out the occasional characters mouths or the wacky scenario here and there.

But then we come to our reveal, which I would actually spoil for you, but it's too convoluted to do in the short space allowed.  This then leads to a second reveal which is even worse.  Now when a movie like this is done correctly, you kind of guess what you think might be the solution from the clues given, and right or wrong, when the true answer comes, it makes some sense.  This one not so much.  This is the kind of resolution that causes one to think back upon things and ultimately invalidates almost everything we've seen up until that point, thus making the exercise a little pointless.  And it also has the misfortune of even forcing us to think ahead a bit to things we aren't even going to see, because the movie is off now, where you may think, due to this wacky conclusion, that every single character, except maybe one, should be doing time in jail.  With this one being the alleged worst character of them all, who as far as I can tell didn't do anything against the law in this movie.  Cheating on your wife or sleeping with a friends wife or something along those lines might not be cool, but it ain't necessarily illegal and probably doesn't deserve the kind of justice that was levied against this clown.  

What this movie probably needed was a bit more sleaze and nudity of which it is severely lacking.  None of our characters really took advantage of the loft except for Karl Urban's character, which meant he could saved himself an awful lot of trouble by just keeping it to himself.  Yes, the Mardsen character did use the loft for his tryst, but then he was pledging undying love to this woman, so you know, no sleaze there.  And Rachael Taylor ain't even trying to get naked in this movie.  Not that we'd even want to see Rachael Taylor naked until she gained about 25 pounds.

Not sure how the other versions of this movie shook out, but in this version it sure looks like it would've benefited from being just a straightforward murder mystery.  No twists, no shenanigans, no sleight of hand.  Keep it simple, keep it sleazy.  We didn't get any of that.
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