The Lodge

Here’s a hypothetical for you: let’s say you’re a middle aged male widower mourning the loss of your severely mentally ill wife who shot herself mere months ago, in front of your two young children no less. You’re grieving, your kids are all kinds of fucked up, and you’ve decided to date again. Your new young girlfriend has recently been rescued from a whacked out, abusive doomsday cult and is adjusting to normal life again with utmost fragility. You take a vacation to a secluded ski lodge in the winter, thinking it will be nice for your equally traumatized children and girlfriend to get some bonding time in. Now… in this scenario, all things considered, how would it be responsible, intuitively practical or remotely advisable in any way whatsoever to take off and leave your kids alone with this girl for an extended period of time? The Lodge is based around this premise and while it’s very well acted, shot and quite atmospheric, the entire film didn’t work for me because I just couldn’t bring myself to take stock in such a ludicrous narrative gambit such as this. Richard Armitage is solidly haunted as the father, Riley Keogh an unsettling porcelain waif as the disturbed new girlfriend, Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh capable as the two kids. Alicia Silverstone (of all people) gives the best performance of the film in her quick turn as the ailing mother, I didn’t think I’d ever give high dramatic praise to the Clueless girl but here we are, she owns her cameo with disconcerting resolve. This film’s issues aren’t with acting, cinematography or even music, which are all exemplary. It’s the script that doesn’t ring true, and offsets the entire thing. Besides the dad leaving them alone together (facepalm), the kids pull some weird shit on the girlfriend that spurs the horrific final act into motion. I mean I know these kids aren’t in their right minds, they’re grappling with life and death at a young age etc etc, but they *still* should have intuitively known better, on a deep level, than to pull the kind of cruel, damaging stunt they do here. I think every beat in the story after the mom’s suicide just felt false, discernibly orchestrated and hollow to me, and the film majorly loses its way before it even has a chance to get going past the prologue. Misfire overall.

-Nate Hill

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