HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Loft
HTS Overall Score:72
“The Loft” is an interesting story of cinematic bungling at its finest. It was originally a Belgian film directed by our very own Erik Van Looy in 2008, which became an overnight hit in its native country. 2 years later it was remade in the Netherlands by Antoinette Beumer. I don’t think third times the charm though, as this time Van Looy does it in America, with popular actors and less success than a bee trying to sting a rhinoceros on the bum. This iteration of “The Loft” plays out as ham fisted and overly melodramatic as one could hope for, and while it may be seen as a comedy (or at least a comedy of errors), the movie takes itself dead seriously, mashing up a variety of genres and overly stuffed machinations that lead up to a predictable and rather uninspired ending.
5 guys, 5 keys, 1 dead woman. That’s the beginning of this little thriller. 5 rather successful and unfaithful men decide that instead of running around and getting incriminating hotel bills, and charges they can’t deny, why not just have a little private hideaway in a luxurious penthouse loft where they don’t have to worry about such little hindrances. Thanks to Vincent (Karl Urban), they don’t have to have a paper trail, as he is a real estate mogul. The rest of the motley crew are Chris (James Marsden), a sappy Psychiatrist, Luke (Wentworth Miller), a soft spoken and rather mousy fellow, Marty (Eric Stonestreet), the chubby and wildly inappropriate friend that everyone has, and Phillip (Matthias Schoenaerts, reprising his role from the original), Chris’s violently driven step brother. All goes as planned until a dead female corpse ends up in the loft, sending the 5 friends into a panic as they desperately search for who the killer is, and how they can make this problem disappear.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45826[/img]“The Loft” is WILDLY convoluted, told through a series of flashbacks that jump back and forth across the timeline so rapidly and so randomly that it takes an incredible amount of effort to keep track of where, and when the story is taking place. The very beginning of the movie is them finding the body, and then we jump immediately into the future where a pair of hardnosed detectives are giving them the third degree and ascertaining who the killer is. It’s vague at first, but things slowly become clearer as the film pretty much lays things out for you in a very predictable thriller type of way. I hate to say that the film has no surprises, as it really does have a couple of really cool twists and reveals along the way, it’s just the WAY the surprises are handled. A quick burst of information is given, and then the resulting aftermath is pounded into a messy pulp of overly cheesy and sometimes downright hysterical melodrama. First it’s one person, then it’s another, and finally the 5 friends are left screaming and yelling at each other’s throats as one twist after another turns the table until you feel like you’re on a roulette table with a constantly spinning wheel.
Based upon some very simple, and very overused thriller type tropes, “The Loft” stumbles along at a dizzying pace, dropping one bombshell after another until the ending FINALLY comes along (after what seems like more finales than “The Return of the King”). I have to give credit to the actors, as they did a fine job at making themselves completely unlikeable to the point where even James Marsden’s character ends up looking like a despicable scumbag when they’re TRYING to make him sympathetic. I can’t really blame them, as the writing is horrendous. Line after line of awful dialog spews from their mouths with such rapidly accumulating frequency, that I think even the actors felt as if their paycheck couldn’t come fast enough. Karl Urban plays his normal dark gritty self, Marsden is the sweet goodguy, Wentworth plays a rather toned down version of his “Captain Cold” persona on “The Flash” and Stonestreet really stands out as the pervy fat friend, which is so unlike his role on “Modern Family”. Their only real fault is having signed up for a film that tries to imitate all of the most clichéd situations possible, ran them through the washing machine a couple of times and spat out this worn, tired, and very boring attempt at a thriller.
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, bloody violence, language and some drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45834[/img]While the movie may be a stinker, the 2.40:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray is certainly not. Universal does well with their day and date titles, and “The Loft” benefits from a completely digital shooting environment that really gives a clean and crystal clear image. The colors are leaning mainly towards the blue, grey, slate color tones, and the image is ever so slightly drained of saturation. Fine detail is absolutely incredible, as you can see every bit of the luxurious penthouse in all its slate blue glory, while the brightness of San Diego, or an outdoor wedding look impeccable as well. Black levels are almost 100% perfect and the image clarity is nothing to sneeze at. The digital image looks free of any artifacting and about as pristine and perfect as you get straight from the digital tap.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45842[/img]The lone 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is just as amazing as its video counterpart, showcasing some incredible sonic effects that wow the audience from the very get go. The opening sequence of the movie with the impact of the car and the dripping of the rain had me amazed. The little details, the individual sound of the raindrops hitting the roof of a car, and then the ringing of the doorbell, all were precisely replicated and distinctly different in their localization and tone. LFE is strong and powerful, as there are quite a few moments where deep deep bass permeates the soundstage. Dialog is locked to the front channel and clears as can be, balanced impeccably with the creepy score. The surrounds are used superbly, as the afore mentioned rain sequence really accentuates the wonderful directionality of the track and there is more than enough ambient noises to fill in those rear channels. A VERY well done track for sure.
“The Loft” actually had a really intriguing trailer that I saw some 3 – 4 months ago, and I really HATE giving out poor ratings to a movie I wanted to like. I originally though the 12% score on Rotten tomatoes was just people not wanting this type of thriller, but after viewing I have to agree with the rating. It deserves those low marks in spades. On the plus side, Universal has given us a simply stellar audio and video experience, which is highly nuanced and had my jaw on the floor many times. The near nonexistent extras are a bit of a letdown, but unless you’re a glutton for punishment, I’d recommend skipping it anyways.
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet
Directed by: Erik Van Looy
Written by: Bart De Pauw, Wesley Strick
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 102 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 26th 2015
Buy The Loft On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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