Good Neighbors (2010)
Review by Jude Felton
I’ll get this out of the way right now, so as not put anyone under any illusions, Good Neighbors is the kind of movie that requires your complete attention and no small amount of patience. It isn’t the kind of thriller, albeit one with a rich vein of very dark humor, that throws instant gratification and cheap thrills at the viewer. It is a character driven movie with plenty of dialogue and slow-burning scenes. What director, and actor, Jacob Tierney has delivered here is indeed a cracking flick.
Set in 1995, the action, for the most part, takes place in an apartment building in Montreal where Victor (Jay Baruchel from Knocked Up) is in the process of moving in. He’s an excitable young chap who is keen to make friends with his neighbors. The neighbors in question though aren’t easy nuts to crack though, with Spencer (Scott Speedman), a wheelchair bound fellow with a cruel sense of humor, and Louise (Emily Hampshire), a cold and distant young lady who only seems to care about her cats.
Victor persists with his attempts at friendship and hopes that a dinner party, set to the backdrop of a vote on a referendum as to whether Quebec should become an independent State, would help break the ice.
Although cold, and often cruel, Spencer and Louise seem to share a joint fascination with a local serial killer who is raping and killing, or vice versa, young women in the neighborhood. Throw into this mix an obnoxious French-speaking neighbor, a couple of nosy old ladies and two detectives and the scene is set for a truly intriguing thriller.
Whilst for the majority of the movie it focuses heavily on the dialogue and interaction between the lead three characters Good Neighbors does have its moments of shocking brutality. There are a couple of scenes in which claret is spilled, one of which is particularly drawn out and uncomfortable to watch. Overall the general tone of the movie is dark, yet throughout it all there is a rich vein of wickedly black humor. Some of this humor sits comfortably on the surface, whereas some is buried deeper into the flick. Don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to be rolling around with laughter but those with a sense of humor that leans towards the darker side will definitely get a kick out of this.
In an age of redundant thrillers that fail to thrill, or engage the old grey matter in any way shape or form, it is always a pleasant surprise to catch one that succeeds on both counts. Good Neighbors is a movie for those wanting to see something a little different than what is usually spoon-fed to audiences. Jacob Tierney has delivered a movie that will bare up to repeat viewings and have you thinking about it for quite some time after the credits roll.
Good Neighbors plays selected theaters from July 29th