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The Nest Is Deeply Cutting & Earnest

The Nest(Amazon Prime  Video)

Starring Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Oona Roche, Adeel Akhtar

Directed  by  Sean Durkin

Rating: *** ½ 

Social climbers are  normally  a brunt  of loud laughter  in  cinema, sometimes subtle satire as  in  Emma, but never  to be taken too seriously. In The Nest, which is an important  film in many senses, Jude Law  plays the Britisher Rory O’Hara  who leads  a picture-perfect  life  with his American wife Alison and two(picture-perfect) children  in the US. He   decides to  relocate to his home in Britain for better prospects.

In the first of many  husband-wife conversations of subtly punctuated frisson,  Roy tells  Alison about his plans to relocate to  England. It is here that we  get the  first real clue of what Rory is really all about. An investment  banker  by profession  Rory is  a simply a cheap  wheelerdealer in an expensive suit, that  too bought on  credit. He  purchases a manor in Surrey  in suburban London for his family but has no money to  pay for its renovation.

  The Nest is like  a  tranquil stream, ready to scream,  where the water runs deep and the turbulence is  just under the surface  waiting to  surface and  destroy  the O’Hara family’s  sham affluence. Director  Sean Durkin(his first film  Martha Marcy May Marlene was a masterclass in classy creepiness)  creates a  dark  foreboding  atmosphere in  the  family mansion, as though some evil  spirit would soon show up. Providentially  the film steers clear of cheap thrills and  convenient  solutions to what’s clearly  a deep  crisis of moral and economic  prioritizing.

 Jude Law plays such a despicable social climber that even a cab driver making small conversation with him sees right through him and leaves  him stranded  on the road. Seeing through Rory O’Hara eventually becomes  a  kind  of  eerie game in the script, as piece by piece  Rory’s  superficial  charm wears thin and  everyone ,  sees  right through him. Most of all his  wife who begins to  abhor him and  humiliate  him in public every time he  weaves a new self-aggrandizing yarn.

   The Nest is  a very pretty film  about a dark ugly moral downslide so  ugly and degrading that  it takes an actor of great guts to play a man so shallow  you can smell his deceit from  miles away. Jude Law is terrific in the part. This is his best since  The Talented  My Ripley and  certainly the most revolting character  he has ever played. 

Carrie Coon as  the  wife is also very  persuasive  in  her rapidly-declining  affections and respect  for her husband. Her attachment to her horse Richmond  is one of the  film’s striking  themes that  means  much more than apparent  on  the surface.

Remarkably there are a slew  of excellent supporting performances Charle Chotwell and Oona Rooche as  the  two O’Hara children, and Anna Reid as Rory’s estranged  unforgiving mum .Even the taxi driver(played by  James Nelson-Joyce) who leaves Rory  stranded on  the road, has  got something really important  to say.When you are an  over-reacher you end up nowhere.  

The Nest  is a remarkably restrained look at one over-reacher’s downfall. It ends with the family  together at  the  breakfast table. In the end  that is all that matters.

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