#REVIEW: “THE NEST”
By George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
For all intents and purposes, Rory and Allison O’Hara (Jude Law and Carrie Coon respectively) live a charmed life. Rory is a successful Financier working on Wall Street. Allison loves horses and runs a riding school near their suburban home, which looks like a spread in Architectural Digest. Their children, Samantha and Benjamin (Oona Roche, Charlie Shotwell) are loving, bright and athletically-inclined. The family dynamics are enviable. Not only does Rory wake his wife up every morning with a steaming cup of coffee as she rolls in bed and lights her first cigarette of the day, they make steamy and passionate love in the evening in the same bedroom. One day Rory tells Allison that there are huge financial opportunities back in London that would be foolish to ignore. Despite her initial reservations, it is a conversation with her mother (a delicious cameo from Canada’s Walk of Fame inductee, Wendy Crewson) that convinces Allison to make the move to the U.K. where they rent a sprawling 19th century mansion in Surrey (a neighbourhood where John Lennon lived and parked his psychedelically painted Rolls Royce). Once there, their lives quickly start to unravel, making THE NEST one of this year’s most complex and masterful movies.
THE NEST is Canadian-born Director Sean Durkin’s second Feature film since Martha Marcy May Marlene ignited the screens in 2011. Set in the 1980s to a background of many of the era’s hits and bathed in a hypnotic score composed by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Perry, this saga starts to crumble when, at a party thrown for Rory’s return to the company he used to work for, Allison inadvertently learns that the family’s move to the U.K. was predicated on a lie. This small crack in the veneer of their life leads to a spider web of disappointments and disenchantments. Rory’s dream of attaining great wealth fails when a company merger he organized failed spectacularly. The children are not adapting well to their new schools as Samantha starts to associate with a wrong crowd and Benjamin is bullied constantly by his classmates. Allison‘s realization that their bank account is basically living on fumes and starts to rebel against Rory’s credo that looking rich is as equally important as being rich as their fortunes decrease. Watching this once happy and thriving family start of to fall apart rapidly makes THE NEST harrowing.
As he did in Elizabeth Olsen’s breakout role in his first Feature, Durkin elicits powerful performances from his leads. What Coon achieves brilliantly in a one minute scene where she realizes she’s been lied to (the dancing eyes turn slowly from disbelief to anger; the smiling lips also imperceptibly start to quiver in grief) is something that I will not forget. So many of her acting choices throughout THE NEST (which include her swigging wine from a bottle at an elegant restaurant or dancing alone at a disco to a song from The Communards with wild abandon) resonate with passion and honesty. Law equally decimates the screen with powerful choices. Whether it’s in his earlier gleeful scenes with his children or when he ultimately realizes he is more business flash than substance, it culminates with his icy reunion with his estranged mother that is shattering to watch. In a career with many high moments, this is his best performance since The Talented Mr. Ripley.
THE NEST is a slow-burning, mesmerizing cinematic accomplishment of dreams not realized and a marriage dissolve with performances that should be recognized during the awards season.
Elevation Pictures release THE NEST in theatres Friday, September 18, 2020.
*Please ensure you exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*.