Title: The Loft
Director: Erik Van Looy (‘Loft’)
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rhona Mitra
The true meaning and value of friendship and family relationships often greatly varies between everyone, even those who are extremely close and vow to protect each other through any harrowing situation, no matter what happens. But it isn’t until people are erroneously placed into a challenging circumstance that they should never have been involved in that their true loyalties and connections are truly tested. That process of figuring out who you can actually rely on during life’s toughest challenges is grippingly presented in director Erik Van Looy’s new psychological thriller, ‘The Loft,’ which opens in theaters tomorrow and is a gratifying remake of his original 2008 Belgian crime mystery drama of the same name.
‘The Loft’ follows five close friends, including Vincent Stevens (Karl Urban), Chris Vanowen (James Marsden) and his half-brother, Philip Trauner (Matthias Schoenaerts), Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller) and Marty Landry (Eric Stonestreet), who appear to be living in high society and have everything they could ever ask for in life. However, their personal and personal lives aren’t as successful as they all hoped they would be, as they’re all still struggling to achieve their goals in their careers and marriages. They also have strained relationships with their wives for various reasons; Chris’ wife, Allison (Rhona Mitra), for example, doesn’t approve of his friends, while Philip’s spouse, Vicky (Margarita Levieva), only seemed to marry him out of a business arrangement, and Vincent and Marty’s wives, Barbara (Valerie Cruz) and Mimi (Kali Rocha), suspect them of infidelity.
In order to indulge in their deepest fantasies, the five men conspire to secretly share a new penthouse loft in the city, which Vincent has arranged for them through a recent property development he worked on. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when Luke discovers the body of an unknown woman, who has been brutally murdered in the loft’s bed, which makes the friends immediately realize one of the group must be involved. Paranoia seizes them as everyone begins to suspect one another. Their friendships are questioned as the group is consumed by fear and suspicion, as accusations of murder are brought up by the officers investigating the case, Detectives Huggins (Kristin Lehman) and Cohagan (Robert Wisdom). As the men begin to relay the affairs they embarked on at the loft, including Vincent’s extramarital relationship with Sarah Deakins (Isabel Lucas), a woman he met while on a business trip in San Diego, and Chris’ association with Anne Morris (Rachael Taylor), a woman who works for a prominent local businessman, their loyalties and actions are also thoroughly examined by each other, as they also set out to uncover the truth.
Van Looy powerfully captured the alluring and captivating narcissism and entitlement of many resolute businessmen who are determined to obtain what they want in their careers and personal relationships, no matter what the potentially harrowing consequence they may face, in the enthralling psychological thriller. The friends’ continuously growing and intense aspirations to claim whatever they desire is powerfully showcased through the captivating casting of the five men. The actors all intriguingly present their characters as either being misguided protagonists who are caught in an unfortunate situation, or malicious antagonists who callously killed the woman, in order to protect their secrets and lies.
While the ensemble of the five diverse main actors memorably infused their respective characters with an initial excitement over their newfound freedom in the loft, which understandably transformed into a deep-rooted concern into what will happen to them if the detectives charge them with the woman’s murder, Urban and Marsden gave the most enthrallingly transformative transformations in ‘The Loft.’ Urban, who’s most well-known for his roles in such sci-fi action films as the ‘Star Trek’ reboot series, ‘Riddick’ and his title role in ‘Dredd,’ gave a stunning performance as the manipulative and devious Vincent in Van Looy’s captivating remake. While the leader of the group appears to be as concerned about his friends’ futures and freedom as his own, the actor effortlessly unveiled his character’s ever-growing disregard for his friends’ emotions, particularly after the rest of the group discovers what he has actually been doing during his time at the loft, as well as his possible connection to the dead woman.
Marsden, who has garnered attention throughout his career in part for his roles in humble, sensitive romantic dramas and comedies as ‘The Notebook,’ ‘The Best of Me’ and ‘27 Dresses,’ also revolutionarily showcased his diverse talents in his shockingly distinct portrayal of Chris in ‘The Loft.’ The actor’s character acts as the humanizing moral compass out of his group of friends, as he’s initially hesitant about going along with Vincent’s plan to use the loft for their immoral affairs. He appears to be the most calm and composed while trying to figure out how to handle the aftermath of finding the dead woman.
But Marsden entrancingly showcased Chris’ shift change in perspective and life views once he met Anne and truly began considering leaving his marriage to Allison to be with her. The Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated performer effortlessly proved his natural ability to shift between playing undoubtingly sincere protagonists who would do whatever it takes to protect the people they care about, no matter what the personal risks they may face as a result, to portraying morally conscious man who allows his deep-rooted emotions drive him to commit unethical, and perhaps even illegal, activities, so that he can achieve what he really desires.
‘The Loft’ is a surprisingly exhilarating and captivating thriller remake that fascinatedly rivals the original film it’s based on. In his updated version, Van Looy interestingly captured the same mesmerizing and entrancing vanity and privilege he infused into the main characters featured in ‘Loft.’ But with his latest effort, the director also gave a unique spin on the psychological impact arrogance and self-entitlement has on unwavering businessmen who are determined to obtain what they want in their careers and personal relationships, but are unable to contend with the harrowing consequences they may face when their actions go awry. Combined with the stellar performances by the remake’s core cast, particularly Urban and Marsden, who fascinatingly played their characters as seeming to care about their friends but more importantly strived to secure their own personal gain, ‘The Loft’ is an enticing, creative exploration into how far people will go in order to get what they want.
Written by: Karen Benardello