A successful yet venal British entrepreneur (Jude Law) uproots his completely happy American wife (Carrie Coon) and two well-balanced kids (Oona Roche & Charlie Shotwell) to take advantage of an “opportunity” that requires a move to London.
He installs them in a centuries-old, hideous pile of bricks in Surrey that he thinks is impressive and gets on with the wheeling and dealing he thinks he’s so good at. But with the souring of each of his hyped-up deals (it’s the 80s), the sweet and smart family dynamic begins to erode. Her horse dies, the teenage daughter gets involved with some wild, druggie locals, the young son gets bullied at school. Marital sex dries up.
Despite the creepy gothic setting, writer/director Sean Durkin’s movie (Martha Marcy May Marlene) compelling, impeccably crafted film is not a horror story per se, though it has the menacingly restrained rhythms of one. For the evils here are not hiding within the walls or under the beds but reside deep within each of us. Much scarier.
Law executes the lead character like the versatile pro that he is, but it’s Carrie Coon’s subtle performance that will stay with you. The casting couldn’t be better. Both performances elevate what is already a near-perfect psych-out to a must-see. But how do you wind up such a slow-moving train wreck of a story? I absolutely loved the purposely ambiguous final scene. (107 min)