LODGER follows a grizzled detective Chandler Manning (Alfred
Molina) on the trail of a ruthless killer intent on slaughtering
prostitutes along West Hollywood's Sunset Strip. Meanwhile,
a mysterious stranger called Malcolm Slaight (Simon Baker)
rents a guesthouse from Joe (Donal Logue) and Ellen Bunting
(Hope Davis), a married couple struggling to preserve their
fragile union after their plans to start a family have ended
in tragedy. Meanwhile, private investigator Manning (Molina),
shunned both by his daughter Amanda (Rachael Leigh Cook) and
his suicidal wife Margaret (Mel Harris) as a result of his
single-minded dedication to police work, teams up with unlikely
rookie partner Street Wilkenson (Shane West), only to make
a startling discovery.
claims to be a mystery/thriller. The real mystery is why acclaimed
actors like Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall,
Simon Baker and Rebecca Pidgeon would sign up for this embarrassingly
bad movie. Then again, the fact that this movie went straight
to DVD, despite its A-list cast, should give you a hint of
how dreadful it is.
refers to a mysterious stranger, Malcolm (Simon Baker), who
has rented the backhouse of Joe and Ellen Bunting (Donal Logue
and Hope Davis). Repeatedly reminding his landlords that he
is to be left alone, Ellen nonetheless develops a liking for
Malcolm. His late-night outings however have Ellen suspicious
that he may be the serial killer behind a string of murders
on West Hollywood.
two detectives Chandler (Alfred Molina) and Street (Shane
West) struggle to find the Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer,
pressured by public criticism that they may have caught and
executed the wrong person for two similar murders seven years
ago and the ever-watchful Feds trying to take over their case.
There’s also how Chandler’s wife is in a mental
institution and how his daughter blames him for her mother’s
breakup and refuses to see him.
blame writer/director David Ondaatje for being simply overambitious,
squeeze so much parallel storylines into just 95 minutes of
screen time. But that would be a compliment, because most
of the time you feel that the director just doesn’t
know what his debut feature film wants to be.
hand, he attempts an Alfred Hitchcock with the wary landlady
and the suspicious lodger. On the other, he tries to build
a detective thriller complete with a veteran cop and rookie
inspector routine. But Ondaatje seems to have no idea how
to put one and one together, so the result is a jarring mess.
Indeed, many scenes seem to have been directed on a whim,
with no sense of continuity how one is supposed to lead to
doesn’t include the countless clichés that will
have you rolling your eyes in despair. The hard-nosed cop
who flouts the rules, has family problems, and teaches rookie
how to get the job done? Check, check and check. Yes, there
is not one shred of originality to be found here- right down
to its multiple endings that plague many equally dismal whodunits
that so strenuously want to prove it has been smarter than
the usually reliable group of actors and actresses can save
the film. Alfred Molina does his scowling best as Chandler,
but even he can’t escape his character’s stereotypes.
Ditto for Shane West’s rookie cop Street, or Philip
Baker Hall’s intrusive Fed character, or Hope Davis’
is-she-or-is-she-not schizophrenic housewife- they seem all
to be made out of the same cardboard material.
here’s my advice- don’t take this Lodger home.
Don’t buy it, don’t rent it. It is a killer, a
killing waste of your time. Just leave it out on the shelves.
It doesn’t deserve even your attention.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There’s a 20 Minute Behind the Scenes
Featurette talking about the inspiration behind the
movie, the casting, and the shooting process. If you think
the director’s name is familiar, that’s because
he’s the nephew of Michael Ondaatje, the author of The
Also, there are some Deleted and Alternate Scenes
that given how dire the movie already is, you should explore
at your own peril.
looks nice and sharp. Though the audio’s presented in
Dolby 5.1, it isn’t much of a thrill.
by Gabriel Chong