Available to stream in the UK this week, via NOW/Sky, is the dark thriller, The Good Neighbour. The movie – from director Stephan Rick – stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Luke Kleintank, Eloise Smyth, and Bruce Davison, and tells the story of two neighbours, Robert and David, who attempt to cover up a hit-and-run.
In the movie, David is a journalist, who has recently moved to Latvia, following the breakdown of a romantic relationship. Upon arrival, he moves into his new home, where he lives opposite loner, Robert.
One evening, David is struggling to get his car to start. He knocks on Robert’s door, asks for assistance, and in no time at all the car is working and the two neighbours become friends.
As David and Robert get to know one another better, they head to a club for a few drinks. The evening goes well enough, and before it gets too late, they set off home.
During the drive back, the pair are talking, exchanging a cigarette, and adjusting the car’s radio. It is at this point that David momentarily takes his eyes off the road, and with this lapse in concentration he fails to notice a cyclist, who he strikes with his car.
David immediately stops the vehicle, but upon investigation the pair discover the cyclist is dead. Fearing the repercussions from their drink driving, and spurred on by Robert’s instance they leave the scene of the crime, the pair drive off.
The next day, Robert disposes of David’s car and the pair concoct an alibi. However, as an investigation is opened into the death of the cyclist, they soon find themselves being drawn into the case.
And then, to make matters worse, Robert develops an unhealthy obsession with David. But will this obsession lead to the pair’s undoing?
If you’ve watched any kind of dark thriller in the past few decades, especially one involving the close relationship between a group of people, then chances are you’ve already seen something similar to The Good Neighbour. This is a film which feels like various other movies all rolled into one.
At one point, The Good Neighbour has shades of I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) about it. The next minute, it leans into Single White Female (1992) territory.
In short: If you are after a mind-blowing, highly-original thriller, which is set to push envelopes and redefine the genre, then you won’t find it here. This is nothing particularly new, all the twists and turns have been done before, and for the most part, it goes through the motions.
Yet, despite all this, The Good Neighbour isn’t a particularly bad movie. In fact, its biggest crime is that it is simply average.
So, while I won’t sing its praises, because I’ve seen this kind of movie time-and-time again, I won’t be too hyper critical of it either. This is a meat-and-potatoes thriller, which does exactly what it says on the tin (so to speak) and if that’s the sort of thing that you like, then it’s fine.
The story is largely the issue here, as it never goes into any unexpected places, and never takes any risks. Had the script for The Good Neighbour injected some clever twists into proceedings, or come up with some imaginative ideas, then maybe it would become a stronger piece.
However, on the plus side, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is rather good in the role of Robert, and he helps paper over some of the script’s shortcomings. Robert’s growing obsession with David is interesting to watch, and even if the story fails to push beyond its basic premise, Meyers brings something dark and troublesome to the screen.
He is no Kathy Bates in Misery (1990), nor is he Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son (1993), but this is a decent turn and one which elevates the material. Without Meyers’ involvement, the film would lose some of its edge.
As for everyone else, and every other aspect of the film, it really is back to being average stuff. Every actor does what is expected of them, no more, and all the other elements (lighting, music, etc) tick the required boxes.
The Good Neighbour really is what it is, and not much more. To describe it as anything beyond run-of-the-mill would be to wrongly inflate its status.
If you want something easy to watch, that you don’t need to pay much attention to for a couple of hours, then The Good Neighbour should do the trick. But for those wanting something more, you had best try elsewhere.