Dir: Erik van Looy (2014)

It’s Joel Silver directing The Hangover in this dumbstruck tale involving a group of philandering man babies who bag a New York loft apartment to conduct their extramarital affairs. Back stabbing and front stabbing abound as the premise, ripe for discussing greed, jealousy and infidelity, descends into a flash-back/flash-forward “sexy” whodunnit with all the grace of a particularly aggressive cow being lowered into a mincer. Erik van Looy gets behind the camera for his second (or third) attempt at his own Belgian hit film like a sadomasochistic man in line for a branding.

A dead, naked, handcuffed girl (the stereotypical basis for any schlocky mystery) winds up being one of the first things we see on screen, after an apparent suicide, as James Marsden, Keith Urban, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet and the brilliant Matthias Schoenaerts (still the best thing to watch here amongst the trash, reprising the role of van Looy’s original) try to get to grips with the fact that one of them is a stone cold killer. The men’s wives are painted as nagging, distraught, hopeless women; Faceless, occupation-less and powerless while a few interrogating cops try to get to the bottom of this whole thing like pigs at a trough.

Sadly though, whatever they eat, we have to eat too and The Loft doesn’t particularly have much of a flavour of anything; There are mashed up bits of Sliver, The Apartment and every single early 90s erotic thriller and cop drama with serious cynical undertones, drawing every upperclass marriage and relationship as consisting of a bored wife and a dog on heat husband. Marsden gets away with it, only just, Urban looks like a lost horse on a mountain, Schoenaerts maintains his charisma and menace as an actor but poor Eric Stonestreet (best know for playing Cameron in Modern Family) goes in for the kill as a repugnant cowardly moron; A terrible miss-fire among many.         


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