A period drama and a thriller, ‘The Nest’, is a suspenseful, underrated film that makes critics exuberant. Before the release of the film this weekend, let’s take a look at the premise of the film, where it takes place and why it is praised by film lovers.
The Nest plays in the 1980s and follows English entrepreneur Rory O’Hara (Jude Law), his wife, Allison (Carrie Coon), and their two children, Samantha (Oona Roche) and Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell). After deciding to abandon their comfortable life in a quiet suburb of New York to move to an old country house in England, their life takes a turn, and tension begins to tear the family apart.
Early in the film, Rory breaks an “opportunity in London” to his wife, reminding him that this would be their fourth step in ten years. Later, upset, Allison says to her husband, ‘It’s awful here. No one here is the same. Nothing here is the same ”, even though Rory claims that ‘there is nothing wrong with this house’.
The film is character driven and depends on the performances of the two main actors that critics praised. In particular, Coon is praised for giving ‘one of her most captivating performances to date’, according to IndieWire. Meanwhile, The Guardian says we see “Jude Law at its best” here. As the Hollywood Reporter writes in their review, this is a hyper-nuanced study of marital thinking games that play out on screen in ‘The Nest’.
“Rory and Allison are very much in love … Rory upsets the family and takes them to England to pursue an opportunity and Allison becomes a more conventional housewife, which is a very challenging assumption,” Coon said in an interview with Variety explained. “For me, I feel that the film resonates with me because it seems to be about the tacit similarities that form in a marriage or a family, and I think the similarities that are largely unspoken are sometimes changed.”
Law agrees, adding: “It was nice to start with something that deals with all the dramas and passions and complications that come with marriage and family life, without there being anything like a divorce or a death or a kind of tragedy at its heart. We all still treat the dramas with love, and that somehow makes it more universal and personal, at the same time.
‘The Nest’ is award-winning Canadian writer-director Sean Durkin’s second feature to date. His first feature film, ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’, is a 2011 family thriller about 22-year-old Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) suffering from delusions and paranoia after leaving an abusive cult, and returning to her family, including sister Lucy. (Sarah Paulson) and brother Ted (Hugh Dancy). It won the Dramatic Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival the year it was released. Nine years later, ‘The Nest’ premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Durkin began writing the text in 2014. Between some rough drafts, he would take six months off before returning. In 2017, Durkin took a year off after the birth of his daughter, and when he returned to the text, he was now a parent, which he calls an ‘interesting’ experience.
Durkin deliberately set the thriller in 1986, leading to an economic boom in London, and used the then optimism to his advantage. When the time came to shoot, Durkin’s instruction to his team was to ‘not have too much fun’ with the timing, but rather approach it with a ‘light touch’.
As for directing his lead actors, Law and Coon, Durkin was pleased that he was deeply involved – or would follow a more practical approach.
‘I direct each actor a little differently. I’m just trying to get to know them and find out what they need, ”the filmmaker told No Film School. ‘Some people need very little; some people want to chat and do research and talk for months about the backstory. I like that. But I also like it when someone wants to, ‘Okay, I’ve read the text and I’ll see you on the set next week. I trust them to do this because I chose it for a reason. I had a kind of gut reaction to them – their work, their energy, that I think would bring them into the role – and I just trust that it’s going to happen.
‘Hence it’s about casting [the performance] and communication, shape and align it with your vision. But you have to create that space where people can do their best work. ”
Durkin, who started his film as a film photographer, wanted to make bold choices when it comes to shooting ‘The Nest’ so that viewers feel like they were there while things were happening. He calls his director of photography Matyas Erdely ‘so brave’.
“We wanted to be brave and make the actors dark. Often the lights are behind them and you do not see their faces clearly. Sometimes I think this is really the best way to make a mood play out. There’s a scene between Carrie and Jude [Jude’s character] ask her for money, and she gets up, and he has his back to us, and she stands completely in the dark. To me, that says it all about their relationship at that time. You can not really see them, “he said in the same interview.
The idea to base the film on a family’s move from New York to London was loosely inspired by events in Durkin’s own life. Durkin was born in Canada, but moved to England at a young age and lived in Manhattan from the age of twelve. He returned to London as an adult in 2012 to shoot the mini-series ‘Southcliffe’ from the thriller – and the whole thing got him thinking.
‘The move between New York and London is now seamless, but at the time it was a big difference. So I wondered what it would be like to examine a family that was making a big difference at that time. What would this move bring to a family? “And it goes further in marriage and the secrets that people keep within each other, between each other,” Durkin told Third Coast Review.
‘The idea comes from this part of my childhood where I moved between England and the USA … I [thought] that cultural change and the atmosphere change will make a very ghostly shift in a film, ”he adds in an interview with ‘Variety’.
The main period, according to lead actor Law, was a major period of the story during the economic ‘Big Bang’ in London. ‘It was the birth of a potential entrepreneur in England in a modern sense. What is remarkable is that it [concept] has not really changed, ”says Law. “The passion for more, bigger, better, wider, harder … It was really interesting to go back to a time, maybe that there was a slight naivety around that kind of faith.”
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‘The Nest’ will be released on October 15 in the UAE.
Source: Gulf News