Next Door (2005)

Naboer tells the story of John, having recently been left by his girlfriend, he retreats into self imposed isolation in his somewhat claustrophobic apartment. As the story unfolds (some parts in flashback) John is approached by his alluring neighbor who seduces/drags him into an underworld of sadism and mysterious undercurrents of retribution for something John does not yet understand. Definitely unique in it’s storytelling, Naboer treads on well told paths of scorned women terrorizing unsuspecting man, adding it’s own twist which is sure to leave you replaying the movie in your mind.

Naboer is like a full bodied wine who’s bouquet unfolds slowly in your mouth and just when you thought you had it figured, the aftertaste hits your senses and shocks you into the realization of what you have really been drinking. I have to admit that there were times, even when I had the movie figured it out, that I was concerned it would turn into a patronizing “gee see how we fooled ya!” moment. However, the director pulled it off. With a clever blend of atmosphere and suspense, the movie relies less on your powers of observation and strives more to tickle your senses and ultimately leave you with an uneasy, somewhat grotesque feeling as it winds to a close. Rather than slowly drag out the ending, he drops it right on your head and then allows the explanation to seep slowly from the screen making an all too simple answer seem unbelievably full bodied and satisfying.

The kicker to this film is the incredible 112 minute running time! Had this dragged out for another hour, no doubt this would have left a sour taste. Instead you are thoroughly engrossed in the pace and momentum and knowing that the film must race to reach it’s conclusion only heightens the anticipation and elevates the sense of closure.

I would compare this film certainly to Polanski in it’s sense of style and cinematography, but also to Christopher Nolan’s Memento in the way that it delivers a one-two punch desert after a very satisfying meal.

The acting is superb with a stand out performance by Kristoffer Joner, making an unlikable protagonist compelling and empathetic. The rest of the cast is fantastic and quite realistic playing some very tense, scary and perverse characters.

See it, experience it, and then look forward to more of what this director has to offer.

Review by MovieMaddis

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