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The Night Clerk Is Interesting, But Not Enough



The Night Clerk

 The Night Clerk (Netflix)


Michael Cristofer


Michael Cristofer


Tye Sheridan,Ana de Armas,Helen Hunt


Hotel night clerk Bart Bromley is a highly intelligent young man on the Autism spectrum. When a woman is murdered during his shift, Bart becomes the prime suspect. As the police investigation closes in, Bart makes a personal connection with a beautiful guest named Andrea, but soon realises he must stop the real murderer before she becomes the next victim

Rating: **

The Night Clerk Movie Review: With  four  enormously charismatic actors at the helm,  this whodunit should have been a lot better. It is not an unwatchable film. But  I am not sure it is  good enough to be considered worth  your time.The  stand-out act  is  by  Tye Sheridan whose  performance as one afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome is empathetic, delightful and  charming.

Sheridan is  the  linchpin on which the film’s suspense pivots. He  is more than capable  of shouldering the  film. But the plot which involves  a murder in a hotel room and a forbidden tryst in  another hotel room, hinges on  too many  coincidences  to be considered ingenious or anywhere close to it.

At the most,the narrative makes space for some hardhitting moments when  Sheridan’s Bart is  trying to dodge  the  rigorous grilling of  a nosy but kind cop(John Leguizamo) who suspects young vulnerable Bart  to be  guilty   but wishes it were not true because…well, Bart is special and  Tye Sheridan plays him special.

 Enter Andrea,  a mysterious distressed  women ,who happens to be stunningly  pretty because she’s played  by  Anna  de Armis who was  knock-out good  in Sergio. There is instant chemistry between Andrea and Bart. He  begins to see a future with  her, gets himself  a  new haircut, buys himself new clothes…There is  sense  of purpose in his life. Which is  more than  we can say about the  plot which hammers  in the  manufactured mysteries like nails in  a  coffin.

 The film should have  explored  the chemistry  between two  beautiful young people, both troubled and traumatized  but determined to make  a good life together. Instead of the chemistry, the director  hammers  in  the  mystery  creating   deep clefts of  unexplored space .Where  we needed some clarity we  get a whole of   annoying ambiguity.

I was even more disappointed  by  the way  the  director  explores  the  relationship between Sheridan and his  mother. If  the  mother is an actress as powerful as Helen Hunt surely we are  within our right to expect some fireworks. But Ms Hunt,  for all her  validated  versatility chooses to play the  concerned mom like any concerned  mom. Lots  of  hand-wrenching but nothing gut-wrenching  here.

Finally   the biggest mystery in The Night Clerk is why was it made?  And  if it turned  out not what was expected  to,would it not  be  better to  just let such a misfire lie in the cans rather than exposing such likeable stars to ridicule?

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