Review: The Host (15)

Harriet Metcalfe reviews the crime thriller by director Andy Newbery set in Amsterdam.

Harriet Metcalfe
10th April 2020
Mike Beckingham stars as Robert, a troubled banker led into what seems a simple plan by a man who offers to pay his debts: go to Amsterdam, deliver a briefcase and return with a suitcase, the contents of which remain unknown to him. Little does he know things are about to get very complicated.
Image: IMDb

If this sounds at all Hitchcockian to you, then you'd be right. The film pretty much owns its familiarity to Psycho - using it in advertising but recognising that this is very much a modern-day interpretation, affected by the new, modern-day context. Repeated staircase shots feel quite Vertigo - a subtle but brilliant warning that there are more layers to this story than you might first imagine. Definitely don't get too attached to anyone.

Some elements of the script were a little weak. Rather than showing, there was a fair bit of telling - dialogue describing what was going on, rather than us actually been shown. When The Host does use action rather than dialogue, it excels, and has some scenes I was genuinely watching through my fingers. Despite this, there is something quite pertinent about its content: secrecy, lies and corruption within both business and family feel quite telling to our times. "Even those who look innocent can be dangerous" isn't a new statement by any means, but it certainly feels important right now.

Beckingham stands out in his role, providing some comic relief, and only getting better when the tension increases. Whilst The Host rightly takes some brilliant risks, it does slightly detract from his performance. He would be even better with more to do on-screen. Overall, The Host is good enough to take your mind off everything going on at the minute - but unfortunately it won't stick there.


Related: in conversation with The Host producer Zachary Weckstein

Related: in conversation with The Host actor Mike Beckingham

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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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