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Nest, The


Stars: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Oona Roche, Michael Culkin, Charlie Shotwell

Director: Sean Durkin

An unrelenting pitcher of misery, Law's new film (he also exec-produced) charts at some length the downward spiral of a jack-the-lad commodities broker (Law) whose empty spiel and aggressive attempts at wheeler-dealing leave us under no illusions that he's headed for a fall.

Rory O'Hara's all-too-transparent bravado is just that; his own inflated idea of his persuasive charm marks him out as a big-time loser.

The story, which is set in the early 1990s, begins in New York (Toronto standing in), where Rory and his wife Allison (Coon, the policewoman from the 2017 series of Fargo) have a million dollars in the bank, an 11-year-old boy (theirs), a teenage girl (hers from an earlier relationship) and a cosy lifestyle that enables her to run a stable and give riding lessons.

Rory, however, has grander visions, and contacts an old employer (Culkin) in London, persuading him that he can improve his business. Not telling Allison of his own role in the move, Rory says the offer from London is too good to refuse.

Once in England, he splashes out on a year's rent on a castle-like mansion in Surrey, and burbles on, to anyone who will listen, about his (non-existent) penthouse in New York and 'pied a terre' in Mayfair.

All too soon, with money running low, he tries to sell his employer a merger with a larger company, but the latter turns it down, leaving Rory's 'cut' on the deal to evaporate.

Things quickly go from bad to very much worse, with Allison walking out after Rory's behaviour at a dinner designed to pulling off another wild scheme, the horse he bought her from a dodgy dealer dying, the daughter (Roche) holding a wild drugs party that wrecks the mansion, and Rory himself walking miles back home after being thrown out of a cab for which he couldn't pay.

The leading character, alas, is drawn in lines far too broad to convince us that anyone could be taken in by Rory's patter, while all the performances are pitched at the highest possible level. Insufficient variation and development make it far too easy to tire of both Rory and this film all too quickly.

David Quinlan

Canada/UK 2019. UK Distributor: Picturehouse. Colour by Company 3.
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 21 Aug 2021