A brutal and somewhat manipulative thriller on Netflix is a solid and pretty shocking movie that is worth a watch for those with strong constitutions and an affinity for twists and turns.
The film follows a former cello protege, Charlotte, who visits her old teacher as he selects the latest child prodigy to join his prestigious musical academy. There she meets Lizzie the latest sensation from the academy. The two have instant tension and chemistry. Their meeting and first night together is full of ups and downs as the characters navigate each other. They push and prod and try to discover who the other person is. They are both open in some ways and guarded in others, and the two actresses give wonderfully subtle performances here.
During their first night together, they play a duet on the cello, and it is filmed in such a way as to suggest that playing a duet is the most intimate, intense, and exciting thing two people can do together. The editing back and forth is what sells this scene. It holds shots for the perfect amount of time, and creates a rhythm that entices and excites.
From there the film dives into one twist after another. To share anymore details would spoil too much of the plot. Part of the fun of the film is allowing the experience to hit naturally. Enjoy the ride that this narrative has created and don’t try to outguess the movie. Having seen a lot of movies it is a lot of fun when a film can genuinely surprise.
The film does get a little manipulative. It intentionally tries to push he audience to believe A and then at the last second switches it out for B just to fool the viewer. This movie isn’t the worst example of that, but it can be irksome at times.
The big caveat is that the film has subject matter that is truly disturbing. The ending is especially chilling and unsettling. I would not recommend this movie to people who are not prepared for physical and psychological violence. This film goes to some very dark and disgusting places. If you have the stomach for it, it is a gripping thriller. If you don’t have the stomach for it, stay clear of this one.
Overall, the lead performances and the twisty script are worth watching. If you don’t like a little manipulation or if brutality and disturbing content doesn’t sound like fun avoid this one. For the most part it’s my cup of tea. – B+