I am sure all of us, probably on more than one occasion, have sat through a film that is not really that much to shout about, but the whole thing is made watchable by a standout performance from one of the leads.

Shuffling its way on to that list is The Neighbour (or Neighbor), a film that moves so slowly it is practically glacial, but offers us a brilliant turn from William Fichtner, an actor who usually gets dismissed as a ‘character actor’, but who is on fine form here.

The plot is simple in the extreme – Fichtner plays supposedly happy married man Mike, a technical writer who works from home while his wife is a teacher. Low key, somewhat socially awkward but more than happy to keep himself to himself, Mike’s world is turned upside down when new neighbours move in – a flash car salesman (Michael Rosenbaum) and his attractive wife Jenna (Jessica McNamee).

While Mike has little time for Rosenbaum, Fichtner finds himself being drawn towards wifey, first on a purely friendship footing – he helps her with her gardening, but things begin to move from there – and the feelings may even be mutual…

That is absolutely it, and it is little surprise that many of the reviews I have read for this bemoan the fact that ‘nothing happens’. There is also a marketing misstep with the film billed a ‘thriller’ and boasting the tagline ‘Danger Lies Next Door’. None of this really mirrors what is actually put up on screen.

Having said that, the film still has its merits – namely Fichtner’s performance.

All ticks and awkwardness, yet still underpinned by genuine warmth and a real want to ‘do the right thing’, Fichtner’s turn not only makes the film watchable, it also raises The Neighbour into ‘recommended’ viewing in my book. He is backed by a solid cast as well, raising the stakes on the acting front.

There are elements of a whole host of films here – the work of Brian De Palma or Rear Window obviously spring to mind, although The Neighbour pales in comparison. Director Aaron Harvey also orchestrates a couple of mood shifts that don’t really work – a decision by one of the central characters towards the film’s close comes out of nowhere for example, with little in the way of build-up or earlier suggestion.

But if you are happy to while away 90 minutes or so in the company of an actor at the absolute top of his game, then The Neighbour is worth your time.

 

DVD Review: The Neighbour
3.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle