The Night Clerk

Sometimes you cannot even really understand how a film ended up botched. It has a cool idea about a murder in a hotel and the prime suspect being a young man on the autism scale. His uncormfortable nature with other people leads to his behaviour being seen as suspect. Add to that two attractive and watchable leads and surround them with two able veteran actors. Finally mix in a little bit of a romance and you seem to have the groundwork for a highly watchable film. And yet that is not what we have here.

Being on the autism spectrum working as the night clerk at a hotel is the perfect job for Bart Bromley (Tye Sheridan – Ready Player One, X-Men Apocalypse). It is quiet, not many people come in, he can, for the most part, control his environment, and it affords him the opportunity to do what he loves – observe people.

Everything is going along swimmingly until a female guest is murdered on his shift. Bart becomes involved in the investigation. More than just because it happened during his shift, but because the detective, Johnny Espada (John Leguizamo – Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!), believes he has something to do with the death. That he is mixed up in it somehow. Soon he is suspect number one. The stress really starts getting to Bart.

Things become even more precarious when Bart becomes involved with another female guest. She is young and beautiful. Bart and Andrea (Ana de Armas – Blade Runner 2049, Knives Out) fall for one another. A realization comes to Bart that he has to figure out who really is the killer or Andrea could be the next victim.

There are two younger “hot” actors in this film. Both Ana de Armas and Tye Sheridan have had plenty of eyes on them of late. de Armas because she has been in a couple of higher profiles films, she is about to be in the next James Bond film and she is dating Ben Affleck. Tye Sheridan was recently named by Variety as one of the Top 10 Young Actors to Watch. Both live up to the hype here in that they turn in solid performances. Both signal that there should be good things on the horizon from them. There are problems with this film, but they are not one of them.

Though this could have been a film fraught with tension and fun moments, instead it devolves into a bit of a mess. The pacing is all off. So much so it feels like they totally rushed the ending. Plus there is precious little character development going on, so you don’t feel any kind of investment or involvement with the characters. Because their behaviours are not explained you really don’t care about what they are going to do next. Finally, the film seems to having an identity crisis. The man behind it all, director and screenwriter Michael Cristofer (Original Sin, Gia), doesn’t seem to be sure if he is making a thriller, mystery, romance or drama. Instead of trying to meld a couple (which can work on occasion), it veers wildly between the genres. I expected better of someone who directed a great television film like Gia and has won a Pulitzer Prize for a play.

Special Features:

-Digital Copy

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