The Rental (2020) – Honest Movie Review

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Today i’m going to talk about dave franco’s featured directorial debut The rental the movie stars dan stevens and allison brees charlie and michelle they’re a married couple who do an airbnb type thing and they rent a house with charlie’s brother josh and his girlfriend mina emina also happens to be charlie’s partner at work what should be a fun weekend getaway for the group takes a dark turn when they start to suspect that the host of the house is spying on them the rental does start off pretty strong that’s a winning core concept right there the idea of renting a house and then having the owner of that house spy on you or maybe things get even more violent than that in a day and age when we’re all doing that it’s just a really freaky thought but still that concept can only take you so far if you don’t have a group of characters to get really invested in but the rental does have you pretty well covered there as well all four characters have some real individuality and tracking their personal responses as things continue to escalate is easily one of the most fascinating parts of the film the surface level descriptors of these characters would be that charlie is the level-headed leader of the group his brother josh played by jeremy allen white has gotten into his fair share of serious trouble but it does appear that he’s trying to change his ways and it also seems like mina’s influence could be helping with that she’s a no-nonsense firecracker who has absolutely no problem whatsoever calling out toby huss’s character taylor the guy managing the house for some seemingly racist behavior and then i’d say michelle is the most well-meaning of the bunch getting a good night’s sleep one night so that she can hike the next morning and party hard the next night it’s an interesting assortment of big personalities here that’s further complicated by their history and also the secrets that they’re busy keeping from one another and stephen’s van vand white and brie really do dig into the nuance of all that very well and also great natural chemistry together and then of course i can’t not bring up toby huss who can do no wrong in my book i don’t know he’s just great in this kind of like everything else i’ve seen him in recently so now take all of that and then dump the threat of a potentially dangerous airbnb host on top of it it works well enough and there’s certainly loads of that need to know type of feeling when it comes to the mystery of how they’re going to get out of there who’s pulling the strings what the end game is my biggest issue with the rental though is that it doesn’t really stick the landing when it comes to bringing those two components together and keeping the terror on your mind after the movie wraps up either i do think that franco and joe swanberg do a pretty good job when it comes to taking an extreme scenario and using it to show how these characters react their true colors but ultimately it winds up being more about the core concept than anything and less about them which maybe it could have worked but as far as that core concept goes it kind of just is what it is i didn’t find that they really said anything all that new interesting or unique about it and that for me was all in the group dynamic and the character behavior and again that kind of gets pushed aside in the end but even with that group dynamic i do also have to point out another thing that i got particularly hung up on and i can’t really go into detail on it because of spoilers but this whole thing with taylor’s character is he racist or isn’t he i don’t think that was fleshed out nearly enough and i guess i wound up being a little uncomfortable and confused by what it could be saying about making those assumptions about someone ultimately that part of the movie didn’t really work for me at all on the technical front though franco does show off he has some skills behind the lens he’s able to take minimal resources and make the most of them and it’s especially true when it comes to capturing his main location here the geography of that house is very well established as it needs to be and i do have a feeling you’re going to hear this a lot about this movie but it is very atmospheric there’s some visual foreshadowing also that i thought worked super well and it circles back to make the rental a fairly exciting film to re-watch as you can track everything straight through i’m gonna give the movie three dewey’s out of five on the dewey decima movie scale it is a solid watch it plays with how crazy the idea of renting a home from a complete stranger is it’s got a great ensemble and it uses them well to dig into certain behavior and how we operate under pressure but it does stop short of having something really groundbreaking to say about the renter rentee dynamic and that puts the rental more so in the fleeting thrill category rather than the type of scare that leaves you with a lot to chew on when the movie ends so those right there are my thoughts on the rental if and when you see the movie do comment section below.

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