Another day another Netflix movie. Having spent ages searching through and finding nothing appealing I settled on a film I knew nothing about. Only afterwards did I realise it was based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith who had written The Talented Mr Ripley and Two Faces of January, which were also made into movies. But was there a reason why The Cry of The Owl did not get a cinematic release?
Lonely Robert (Paddy Considine) is going through a difficult divorce with his wife Nickie (Caroline Dhavernas), and has had to move to a new job where he awkwardly interacts with others around him. As he fails to connect with those around him he is drawn to spying on Jenny (Julia Stiles), a young woman who lives in the countryside. But watching Jenny has unforseen consequences for both of them.
It’s rare to have a thriller that surprises you, so having thought I knew exactly what The Cry of the Owl would be about it was refreshing that the movie went in a different direction than I had expected. The movie is more about atmosphere and characterisation rather than lots of action, and it’s not afraid to go at its own pace to reach it’s conclusion. It helps that the movie had capable actors like Considine and Stiles in the lead roles to keep you watching. They are able to ground their characters so that their actions and reactions to events are believable. While their performances are downbeat and sombre, there is a burst of energy when Dhavernas comes on screen having a ball playing Robert’s destructive and vicious ex-wife.
Viewers may find the middle section a bit slow or be tempted to turn off the film halfway, thinking the movie is too predictable. I also got a bit bored waiting for the plot to move forward. But I recommend watching it the whole way through if only to see an excellent and subtle performance by Considine.
Rating 3.5/5 – an interesting and surprising good little thriller