The Nest (2021)
Director: Sean Durkin
Screenwriter: Sean Durkin
Starring: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Oona Roche
The Nest takes audiences on a twisted, dark journey as a once madly in love couple and their happy children are put to the ultimate test as greed and status become an overpowering presence within their family.
A dark and gloomy old mansion in the Surrey countryside is the perfect setting for a 1940s Hitchcock thriller, but in this dark and broody drama the thrills come from the performances and less so from the plot. Together Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley; Captain Marvel) and Carrie Coon (Gone Girl; The Post) carry The Nest with their emotional and powerful portrayals of Rory and Alison O’Hara, a wealthy and seemingly happy couple who, thanks to Rory’s impulsive behaviour, decide to uproot their family’s life and move to the British countryside from their home in the United States.
Carrie Coon steals the screen in this career-defining performance as Rory’s struggling wife Alison, a free spirit who puts up with her husband’s spontaneous decisions whilst trying to maintain her own happiness. As every corner of her life starts to crumble around her – her son Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell) is being bullied at the private school Rory insists he attends, whilst her daughter Samantha (Oona Roche) is quickly heading down a road to rebellion – she gradually loses control.
At the height of the film, on a luxurious night out with Rory’s colleagues, Alison finally cracks and Coon’s isolated performance of a woman at the end of her tether becomes nothing short of mesmerising. The screen is graced with long close ups, Coon expressing the emotional strain Alison is under as she begins to feel like she is drastically running out of options.
Opposite Coon is Jude Law, whose performances as Rory is both honest and intriguing, leaving us to question his intentions whilst discovering that his only motivation in life is financial success. Rory will do whatever it takes to keep up appearances, even if it comes at the expense of his family’s trust. From lying to his colleagues about a fictitious second home in New York City to charming a working class taxi driver into giving him a free ride, Law keeps up the act from the opening scene right through to the sudden ending with a gumption and quality that we have scarcely seen from him in recent years.
The ambiguity of the piece allows The Nest to be stylish and captivating whilst avoiding the pitfall of coming across as pretentious. Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene, 2011) directs in such a way that encourages us to form our own opinions whilst leaving us on the edge of our seats. The Nest teases with the conventions of a thriller whilst focusing on the dynamics between the characters in the form of a hard-hitting drama. This 2021 film is fantastic, gripping and above all else absolutely stunning to look at. Pulled together by breathtaking performances and real life dilemmas that make it both relatable and fantastical, The Nest deserves to be witnessed on the big screen.