Review: The Door

The Door has to be one of the most confusing films in recent memory. Not because of any tricky plot devices, dramatic twists or convoluted history but because you’ll be left questioning every creative decision thinking “Why on earth would you think that’s a good idea?”. More confusing is why a woman of Helen Mirren’s talents ended up in this film that can only be described as an absolute mess, lacking cohesion in everything from its narrative, artistic vision to the performances.

Martina Gedeck of The Lives Of Others fame stars as an author, Magda who moves into a new neighbourhood and hires neighbour Emerenc (Helen Mirren) to help her around the house. Magda finds herself drawn to Emerenc’s mysterious past and bitter personality, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship. Hanging over the relationship is the mystery of why Emerenc won’t let anyone set foot inside her house, or even peep in. The audience will have to assume the titular door is the one to the house, because it’s the only reason why this film would be called The Door.

Much of the film hypes up this twist of what’s in the house and relies heavily on this narrative tension. The twist however happens to be the most daft and shrug worthy reveal in cinematic history. You could hardly call it a twist. It wouldn’t be such an issue if the film hadn’t acted like we were about to find out Emerenc was Luke Skywalkers father. This is just the icing on the cake of the films scripting flaws. It’s as though scenes are just missing with random scenes cutting from one to the other without explanation, yet when a shot of a puppy in a snowy street cuts to a full grown dog on street in green bloom we need to be told “several months later” like we can’t piece it together.

The film has also clearly been dubbed, but there has been seemingly zero attempt at synching lips to noise. Actors may have well been muppets. In many cases surely the performances would have been much more interesting.

Director Istvan Szabo also erroneously adds highly stylised flashbacks that add little to the plot and don’t match the film at all. One flashback goes into sepia and slow motion. The next at a strange angle in black and white with a single beanie made red. Why? That’s the greatest mystery of this film. Why have you made this film this way? This film is a failure on a catastrophic level.

The Door is released in Australia on July 19th

Director: Istvan Szabo

Cast: Helen Mirren, Martina Gedeck

2 thoughts on “Review: The Door

  1. After 50 minutes of torture I no longer cared one iota what was (or wasn’t) behind the infernal door and walked out. Mirren, while attempting to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, was poorly cast.

    I think much was lost, or rather misplaced, in the translation. Much of the dialogue came across as forced and clunky and the dubbing (ADR) was not only badly synchronized but the voices just didn’t fit either the actors or the environment.

    The directing was melodramatic and clumsy and the ‘me too’ music didn’t fit either.

    The cinematography was probably the highlight though I felt the lighting was occasionally a little off color looking too warm in some of the colder scenes. Also a few of the tight head shots were mis-focused nailing the ears instead of the eyes.

    I really only ‘chanced’ this because of Mirren but even she couldn’t save this mess.

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