PRO: Checking in – David Mouriquand
Following on from their bracingly memorable Austrian debut Goodnight Mommy, The Lodge proves that directing duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala still have naughty scamps on the mind. This English-language chiller has echoes of their previous film and shows what can happen when two children and a maternal figure are left isolated for far too long. It’s a devilish little thriller whose central mystery sustains its runtime and keeps you gripped throughout. The eerie atmosphere created by Yorgos Lanthimos’ frequent DP Thimios Bakatakis’ is incredibly effective and bolstered by Riley Keough’s performance as either the source of a disturbance or the victim of something more sinister. It may be more conventional than Goodnight Mommy, but it is so skilfully and precisely orchestrated – from that sudden and gasp-inducing rush of violence in the first act to the penny-drop moment in the last – that you’ll forgive its minor shortcomings.
CON: Checking out – Mark Esper
Drowning in the similar silences to Yorgos Lanthimos’s Killing of A Sacred Deer, The Lodge’s melancholic tone immediately tells you that tragedy is never far away. Sadly though, by continually throwing in contradictory clues, the on-screen characters’ disorientation also becomes that of the audience and The Lodge descends into a succession of flourishes that never burst into flame. (Think Aronofsky’s Mother! but with an actual narrative strand). Dangling your disbelief to breaking point, The Lodge becomes a horror movie that hastily hangs any interest you might have had in anyone’s survival. So closely wedded to the previously successful premise of familial distrust, it cools in comparison to Goodnight Mommy. Whilst Riley Keough gets to impressively build upon her acting resumé, this cat on a cold tin roof becomes a follow-up that rarely strays from the impressive path that brought us here.
The Lodge | Directed by Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala (UK, Canada 2019) with Riley Keough, Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone. Starts Feb 6.
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