Every Breath You Take

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

5/5 (1)

With “Every Breath You Take” audiences are expecting a good psychological thriller in the mode of “Cape Fear,” but instead we get Casey Affleck playing another sad, despondent character grieving over the loss of a child like in “Manchester By the Sea.” “Raw, drained, and acute,” one moviegoer described his performance.

Film Inquiry is more generous, terming it “an intriguing character study that examines grief and loneliness while infusing intensity and thrills.”

Sure, there’s psychological tension and a twisty breath-taking ending – but most movie reviewers weren’t buying it. They scored it a dismal 19% on Rotten Tomatoes.

RogerEbert.com sums it up this way: “Director Vaughn Stein, working from a script by David Murray, makes a hash out of elements of Scorsese’s ‘Cape Fear,’ Adrian Lyne’s ‘Fatal Attraction.’ Lyne’s ‘Unfaithful,’ and Demme’s ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’”

Okay, hold on. With this kind of heritage, can “Every Breath You Take” be all that bad?

With this one, Oscar-winner Casey Affleck (Ben’s brother) plays a shrink whose patient commits suicide. Being that Dr. Phillip Clark (Affleck) was using an unconventional treatment, the tragedy nearly wrecks his career. His license is about to be revoked.

So what does he do? In a move that will have you screaming “Don’t do it,” he invites his patient’s brother James (Sam Claflin) into his home. Not a good idea, considering Phillip and his wife Grace (Michelle Monaghan) are kinda on the outs following their son’s death in a car accident. The Blame Game and all that.

The plot from here is predictable.

Los Angeles Times called it “a domestic potboiler.” NPR said it was “very, very dumb.” And Hollywood Reporter complained, “This pedestrian psychological revenge thriller offers few surprises.”

But Deadline Hollywood Daily finds it “all very slick and watchable.” And AU Review termed it “a twisty old-fashioned thriller, the type that Hollywood no longer makes.”

“Every Breath You Take” can be found on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Redbox, and Fandango – or you can catch it on the Tropic’s Virtual Cinema.

Ripped straight from a Lifetime movie? Or based on the song? Not exactly. The film had a troubled history. Originally, the movie (then called “You Belong to Me”) was supposed to be directed by Rob Reiner and starring Harrison Ford and Zac Efron. But after stalling for seven years it resurfaced with a new title, new director, and new cast.

What we get is a good A- cast, predictable C+ story, excellent atmospheric cinematography, and a 1-hour 45-minute film that needs tighter editing.

Some viewers see it as a “typical Casey Affleck movie … sad and depressing.” Or “a load of gibberish.” Also “a predictable slow-cooker.”

But not everybody agrees. Under the heading “Underrated,” one fan opined: “After reading some of the reviews, I was expecting a total flop … but in the end this movie wasn’t as bad as people are saying.” And another added, “Given the reviews I was not expecting much, but this was a pleasant surprise.” Still another audience member concluded, “There are similar films with better execution.”

Like “Cape Fear,” for instance?

As the Tropic reopens with caution, please familiarize yourself with the protective house rules and procedures. Got questions? Email info@tropiccinema.com.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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