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“THE NIGHT CLERK” Murder with a Twist

 

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

The drama The Night Clerk takes aim at the box-office with a twisted tale that should have audiences engrossed from the very start to its surprise finale. While all the clues are laid out for you before midpoint, the writer/director holds back just enough in this mystery to make the movie a winner. Acting is sharp and pin point, the direction strong and impeccable, and the credible protagonist in the plot makes for the perfect character.

Tye Sheridan as Bart Bromley in the thriller film, “THE NIGHT CLERK,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films

Bart Bromley (Tye Sheridan) has had a tough life trying to keep his Asperger’s under control. Just 23 years old, the condition has held him back from doing something special for which he can be proud. His job as a desk clerk has kept his mother Ethel (Helen Hunt) happy, but she still has doubts as to whether Bart is feeling good about himself. The condition Bart has does come with some pluses, especially his intelligence that includes a technical mind that gives him high marks for computer technology. Living in the converted cellar of his mother’s house, he has set up a number of computer screens and it’s like he has his own apartment.

Helen Hunt as Ethel Bromley in the thriller film, “THE NIGHT CLERK,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.

But, there is a dark side to Bart as he has been using his technical ability to spy on rooms in the hotel at which he works. Mind you, he’s using the invasion of privacy to emulate the people and not for any sexual or monetary gain. Even though it’s a creepy thing to do, in Bart’s mind, it’s a pretty ingenious teaching tool. Being the night clerk from eleven pm to 6 in the morning, there’s not much action except for one night where he witnesses a brutal attack on a woman in her room. It’s something that he wishes he had never seen, because it comes back to haunt him and puts him at the center of a murder investigation.

Director and writer Michael Cristofer (The Witches of Eastwick, Bonfire of the Vanities) keeps his film moving along at a fast pace. He keeps his guessing game a challenge, especially when adding Andrea (Ana de Armas), a love interest in the mix for Bart. It’s an intricate and delicate move for Cristofer that could sink his ship if it’s not accepted by the audience, but he nails the sensual romance that’s edgy and almost welcoming.

(L-R) Tye Sheridan as Bart Bromley and Ana de Armas as Andrea in the thriller film, “THE NIGHT CLERK,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.

The acting by Tye Sheridan is what makes the film work. His character has to be believable as a person with Asperger’s syndrome, where the main trait is the inability to communicate without holding anything back. In the case of Bart, who is a suspect in the killing of a woman on the premises where he works, he could be seen as the killer. Tye Sheridan is spot on in the role keeping Bart in the throes of Asperger’s, but it’s only due to being evasive from what he learned through observation. When his character has to face off against Detective Espada (John Leguizamo) however, he clams up making him a prime suspect in the investigation.

Editor’s Note: According to Facty Health (http://facty.com) Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of high-functioning autism more common in males than in females. Even though by definition people with Asperger’s have no significant delay in language or cognitive development, people with the condition often experience difficulty with social interaction and sensory reception. With early diagnosis and therapy, most people with Asperger’s syndrome live regular lives.

Ana de Armas as Andrea in the thriller film, “THE NIGHT CLERK,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.

The Night Clerk has been rated R by the MPAA for language, some sexual references, brief nudity and violent images.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Good acting and directing with a cool script make the film a winner. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas, John Leguisamo, Helen Hunt
Directed and written by: Michael Cristofer
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual references, brief nudity and violent images
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Opening Date: February 21, 2020
Distributed by: Saban Films
Released in: Select Theaters, VOD, digital HD

 

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