Benicio Del Toro performs a detective investigating a suburban murder on this overstuffed thriller.
The tortuous crime thriller “Reptile,” streaming on Netflix, at occasions feels just like the unwise try and cram a whole season of a cops-and-perps present into simply over two hours. The film, peopled with a near-bottomless provide of unsavory rogues, tracks the aftermath of a grisly homicide by trailing the policemen on the case. Domenick Lombardozzi (of “The Wire”) is even featured among the many crew — though his presence is merely one other reminder of the sharper tales this film aspires to duplicate.
Set in an overcast marsh city in Maine, the film opens on a pair going through friction: Will (Justin Timberlake), an actual property mogul, and Summer season (Matilda Lutz), an agent at his firm, converse tersely whereas readying a home for a exhibiting. The sheeny manor is all stainless-steel and vaulted ceilings, a house that, in its moneyed facade and alienating inside, gives an apt metaphor for the pair’s home strife.
As soon as Summer season is discovered stabbed to dying in a for-sale property, nonetheless, the film shifts into procedural mode. We swivel to middle on Tom (Benicio Del Toro), a detective who’s contemporary meat on the native drive; he and his spouse, Judy (a convincing Alicia Silverstone), decamped to the hamlet following a scandal in Philadelphia. Working below the stony police captain (Eric Bogosian), Tom presents as a weary however devoted enforcer of legislation and order. “There’s just one factor I like nearly as a lot as I like you,” he smolders, much less to Judy than at her, “and that’s being a cop.”
Thank goodness for that constancy, for this explicit murder quickly proves a Pandora’s field of treachery and pretense. The poised Summer season, throughout her quick life in suburbia, managed to mingle with a legion of kooks and creeps, together with her ex-husband, Sam (Karl Glusman), an artist keen on stealing human hair for his sculptures, and her glum confidante, Renee (Sky Ferreira), who appears to resent her pal’s success. That’s to not point out the bratty, well-to-do Will, whose resting pout face is barely partially the fault of Timberlake’s restricted performing vary.
In his first characteristic, the director Grant Singer (who wrote the screenplay with Benjamin Brewer and Del Toro) demonstrates a knack for constructing suspense. In a single fashionable sequence, Tom dials a mysterious quantity that could possibly be the important thing to cracking the case. As he listens to the tone, Singer cuts to a number of characters reaching for ringing telephones. The small scene oozes with Hitchcockian rigidity.
The difficulty with “Reptile” is that this spectacular moment-to-moment management doesn’t lengthen to the contours of the broader story, which the writers overstuff with clumsy twists and contrived gadgets. As soon as the movie will get round to revealing the wrongdoer, we’ve already misplaced curiosity, enervated within the face of a film that, like an overeager snake, bites off excess of it may swallow.