Netflix’s “Close”: Review

Netflix’s most recent action thriller, “Close,” is an entertaining film with immaculate cinematography and intense action sequences, although merely satisfactory due to its cliché story line and weak script.

“Close” follows the story of close protection officer Sam Carlson (Noomi Rapace) assigned to protect Zoe Tanner (Sophie Nélisse), whose recently deceased father left her his remaining shares of their phosphate mining company in Morocco. 

Unfortunate events unfold and Zoe and Sam fend for their lives as they are being tracked by many others who are out to kidnap Zoe, due to her wealth and public persona.

“Close” opens with a thrilling, albeit short action sequence that sets the tone immediately, allowing for an opportunity to grab the audience into the unforgivable and corrupt world of the mining business. 

However, the suspense of the film is unfortunately dragged down by the sluggish pacing of the story, along with a weak script to justify each character’s emotions and relationships.  

There is an unbalanced structure of slow expositional scenes with wealthy business people discussing negotiations and buy-outs, along with action scenes involving the two main leads that are riveting, but leave the audience wanting more. 

“The chase sequences in ‘Close’ are solidly exciting, though never stunning; and too much of the movie consists of either wealthy people or military types swapping over-explanatory dialogue in urgent tones,” said Noel Murray from The Los Angeles Times. 

“The film runs a tight 94 minutes, but it feels longer because there’s nothing in it that we haven’t seen innumerable times before,” said Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter. 

The script is fairly simple and adds no real context to the characters’ lives or their backgrounds, with little dialogue between character interactions. 

The line delivery from this scene was stale and their reactions toward each other did not make any sense. This scene is supposed to be pivotal in the film, but it rather provides a forced character arc and useless exposition between the Sam and Zoe. 

It seems that Sam and Zoe are meant to have a mother and daughter relationship, but there isn’t enough emotional connection between the two characters to make it feel that way. Rather, it feels rushed and unnatural. 

This leaves Sam and Zoe’s character arcs not being fully realized, with the resolution for both of their characters seeming dissatisfying before the credits role. Furthermore, Rima also seems to be a plot device that, although plausible, is too cliché for the progression of the story. 

Although the film’s story and its characters are not its strongest points, it would be a disservice to not mention the beautiful cinematography done by Malte Rosenfeld. 

Rosenfeld buses a combination of high-contrast colors, with rich orange shots during the day and sharp blue shots during the night. 

Morocco is the perfect setting for a sense of beauty and claustrophobia, due to its dense population and compact buildings. 

Stills are also composed for just the right amount of time, adding a feeling of tension during dangerous situations. 

Action scenes do not feel out of place within the story. Every time Zoe and Sam are in a thrilling confrontation with an enemy, it is nothing short keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. 

Violence is used sparingly but is justifiable and realistic, while combat is slow, but heavy and intense. 

“Close” is a generally entertaining action film, but there just isn’t enough substance and innovation to leave the viewer fully satisfied.