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REPTILE (2023, USA) – 6,5/10

It’s Benicio Del Toro brilliant in a strange, confused, overdrawn and somewhat poser thriller for
who wrote the script himself. Admittedly, it was Del Toro with director Grant
Singer, one of the three screenwriters, and “Reptile” was also the film debut for
a young director who has trained by directing video clips in recent years
for many famous musicians. I didn’t like a lot in this dark thriller
which Del Toro literally pulls on his shoulders and manages to save him at least to some extent
and make it visible. From the first scenes, I was terribly irritated by the slightly poser style,
strange directing stylizations that did not suit this type of film at all, as well as
superficial, hollow script with such desperate dialogues.

And the characters are mostly flat, the acting (if we exclude Del Toro) is kind of there
strange, unconvincing, but still far from how I would describe “Reptile”.
with a classic American third that is widely used. It’s a movie that a lot
pays attention to details only to forget about them later. Almost every character there
it has some background story or some hidden motivation, and in the end all of that
it turns out to be more or less irrelevant and the existence of some characters in the whole story is complete
vaguely. I would not like to spoil too much, but the main one remains rather incomplete
the mystery of the entire film, that is, who killed the young realtor Summer
Elswick (Matilda Lutz).

She has been in a relationship with real estate mogul Will Grady for about a year and a half
(Justin Timberlake) and the two are selling luxury real estate in Maine while
the business is overseen by Will’s mother Camille (Frances Fisher). One day Will will
find the girl brutally murdered in one of the houses she was selling, and then
the detective duo – Tom Nichols (Del Toro) and Dan Cleary (Ato
Essandoh). Even from the beginning, Timberlake’s character seems like a real slob, but then he
even scarier characters begin to appear one after the other. The first is Summer’s
ex-husband Sam, and the other is Eli (Michael Pitt), a man whose face says yes
is a deranged maniac whom Will’s father once screwed over.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there are countless other characters who are either Tom’s
family like wife Judy (forgotten teen star Alicia Silverstone) and
her uncle Allen (Eric Boghossian) who happens to be Tom’s boss in the police force and
thanks to which he got a job at that station in the first place after
apparently, had some problems. There are also a few more policemen and theirs
wife that Tom and Judy hang out with so we follow along while they go to some
country dancing, while playing cards, drinking and going to dinners. Anything and everything is thrown in there
and “Reptile” tries to be a dark thriller in which we follow at the same time
a murder investigation, as well as a character study of a typical tortured detective who
enough of everything we’ve already seen countless times.

And that thing is saved by Del Toro, who is a real pleasure to watch and is real
he is one of the most expressive actors today, but there is little that holds water.
All these elements thrown and crammed into one film fail to hold together
to some coherent whole, and some of them are here and there from completely incomprehensible
reasons. I was missing some softness and maybe Singer thought it was David
Fincher, who also jumped into film from the world of video recording and
became famous for (mostly) thrillers, but the difference in talent between the two is
incomparable. While in Fincher’s thrillers everything is in its place and makes sense,
with this wannabe Fincher, little actually works and little makes sense.