By Joel Fisher.
Close, whose main character is based on real life bodyguard, Jacquie Davis, is the latest Netflix exclusive action adventure to star Noomi Rapace (Bright, What Happened to Monday?). Rapace plays Sam Carlson, a bodyguard whose job takes her all over the world and puts her life in the line of fire. After being contacted for a job ensuring the safety of a rich heiress named Sarah (Olivia Jewson), Carlson reluctantly agrees and finds that Sarah is just as disapproving of the arrangement. Then one day an attack on Sarah’s family home leads the bodyguard and the heiress to go on the run and they soon find that they have to be very careful with who they can trust.
In 2002, The Bourne Identity rejuvenated the action genre. The film’s use of visceral, fast paced fight scenes shot on handheld cameras put the audience right in the middle of the action and since then many films have copied that style to evoke the same adrenaline pumped feeling that the Bourne films gave its fans. Even James Bond got a shot in the arm from Jason Bourne. Cut to 2019 and its influence is still being shown and unfortunately some are not as successful as others. Close is one of those films that tries to remind its audience of the Bourne franchise but ultimately leaves them wanting something much better.
It’s not the fault of its star because Rapace puts in a solid performance as the hardened and emotionally distant bodyguard but it’s the script, the budget and lack of originality that pulls the film down. Even when the film realises that its format is all too recognisable and cliché, its attempts at adjusting the audience’s expectations come too little and too late. The more successful female led action movies (La Femme Nikita, Aliens, Kill Bill) have taken into consideration the lead’s gender and have treated them as individuals rather than cookie cutter place holders that a man would have filled. Unfortunately, Close falls into the cookie cutter model of the action movie star and it suffers for not having the character development or the chance to show a bond between two women who are put into such an unusual situation. There are moments where Sarah shows warmth and gratitude for everything that Sam has done for her but the chemistry is never really there so the audience doesn’t believe in the bond, despite the harrowing ordeal that the pair have endured.
The budget is probably one of the biggest problems for the films because despite its ambitious tone and promising set pieces, the film comes across as more of a televisual affair, like a pilot for a show rather than something more cinematic. Considering television is becoming more cinematic these days, that is no easy feat as it suggests that most of the budget must have gone into the fee that Rapace’s name commands.
Overall the film is nowhere near as good as it could have been. The potential is wasted on what could have been a more unique film, maybe basing it on the real bodyguard’s life. Instead what the audience get is a forgettable, disposable action thriller that makes the audience wish they were watching something better. When thinking about the more exciting and enjoyable movies in the genre, it pains me to say it but this one doesn’t even come close.
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