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Michael Cristofer contentious behavior rooted Hitchcockian!

Por Alberto Sebastian Martinez-Cava , 24 febrero, 2019

Not long after, Bart meets another guest, Andrea (de Armas), who seems perfectly at ease with his social awkwardness and acts flirtatiously. The two strike up a friendship, with Andrea telling him that he reminds her of her brother, who is on the spectrum. Bart begins to interpret her warmth as romantic interest, although it’s eventually revealed that there are other motivations going on as well.

Directing his first film since his ill-received 2001 Angelina Jolie-starring melodrama Original Sin, Cristofer (also a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, for 1977’s The Shadow Box) seems unsure of what he wants to achieve. The premise is certainly workable enough for a Hitchcockian-style thriller, but the pic seems to treat the murder and mystery as to the identity of the culprit almost as an afterthought. The attempts at comic relief, including Bart making wildly inappropriate comments to various salespeople, seem gratuitous and exploitative. And while the tender relationship that develops between Bart and Andrea proves the most involving element of the storyline, it, too, fails to live up to its dramatic potential.

The performers certainly aren’t to blame. Sheridan makes the most of his character’s limited ability to express himself emotionally, providing subtle shadings that make Bart sympathetic despite his social and moral missteps. De Armas is warmly appealing as the potential love interest, and Helen Hunt makes a strong impression as Bart’s mother, who will do anything to protect her «fragile» son who spends most of his time in the basement. Unfortunately, their commendable efforts aren’t enough to compensate for the film’s tonal and narrative inconsistencies.

A young autistic man (Tye Sheridan) witnesses a murder at his hotel job in this indie noir from director/writer Michael Cristofer (whom you may know as CEO Phillip Price in “Mr. Robot”). The twist? He sees it because he’s installed cameras in the guests’ rooms so he can observe “normal” human behavior, which makes him less than an innocent bystander.

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