Either something is wrong with me or there is something wrong with the way people make movies.
OK, neither of those things is true. We all have different sensibilities when it comes to entertainment. See my previous column on guilty pleasures and liking the things we like.
Spoiler alert: I will reveal the ending of the movie I am about to discuss.
This past weekend I watched The Intruder (2019). To be honest, the premise didn’t really appeal to me, but Dennis Quaid.
Ever since Frequency (2000), one of the greatest time travel films ever made, I can’t pass up anything starring Quaid.
I do like psychological thrillers, although the execution of them is kind of hit and miss.
That was the case for The Intruder.
The basic plot is a young couple — Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) Howard — buys a country estate from Charlie Peck (Quaid), a retired gentleman who is ostensibly on his way to Florida to live with his daughter.
Only he doesn’t leave and keeps intruding on Scott and Annie’s privacy. Scott believes there is something off about Charlie, but Annie just doesn’t see it. She sees a lonely old guy who is just trying to be helpful.
The first two acts kept my attention with enough suspense and intrigue and good enough writing, directing and acting to overshadow certain lapses in logic.
However, Act III almost completely lost me. Modern filmmakers, it seems to me, tend to value action above all else. Personally, there is nothing more boring than extended action scenes. They do not generate, for me, the desired suspense, just drive me to scrolling Facebook while keeping a peripheral ear on the proceedings.
In this case, by the end of the second act, Charlie is fully revealed as a psychopath, so there is only one possible path to an ending and it is, of course, a drawn-out pursuit of Annie through the estate while Scott races to save her. Yawn.
There were so many opportunities for a more satisfying denouement had Deon Taylor (director) kept Charlie’s mental state more ambiguous, even if ultimately sticking to the same, albeit more circumspect ending.
For example, Scott’s friend Mike is the only other truly significant character, although more of a device than a fully developed character. If it had been me, I would have developed him as a possible alternative to Charlie as the antagonist.
Even if it did turn out to be Charlie in the end, this would have given the filmmakers more choices for a more suspenseful ending without relying on tedious action. I know, it seems weird to characterize action as tedious, but it is for me.
Of course, there are endless ways to do it, but that one choice of an alternative antagonist, would have opened up many more paths to possible endings instead of just one.
That being said, and here is the real spoiler, they did provide an interesting twist at the very last second so I’m glad I made it to the end even though it crossed my mind more than once to click the stop button.
For background, Annie is a very compassionate character who defended Charlie throughout. Scott is a pacifist with a past that has made him vehemently anti-guns.
At the end, Scott gets the upper hand (of course) and ends up holding Charlie at gunpoint. He tells Annie to call 911. She does and responds to the operator’s question of “What is your emergency?” with “My husband just shot an intruder.”
A bit of an implausible shift in character for both of them, but at least a twist ending and people do sometimes do uncharacteristic things under extreme duress.
All in all, it’s a 2.5 out of 5 stars for me, but worth the 84 minutes.
Well, maybe not for those of you who read to the end of the column.