Penthouse North Review


Cast: , ,
Age Restriction:
Studio: Lionsgate Films and Dimension Films
Running Time: 82 mins

Verdict: 2 / 5

When any actor is tasked to play a person with a disability they know it is going to be the toughest gig of their lives. To ignore natural instincts and to move in a way that is contradictory to the way your body has always moved is hard at the best of times let alone when you are being a victim of a vicious home invasion. One slip up and the illusion is broken.

Sara (Michelle Monaghan) is a female photojournalist living a life of seclusion since returning from Iraq blind, after being the victim of a suicide bomb. She returns to her boyfriend’s penthouse apartment after running an errand, to find him dead on the kitchen floor and a stranger in her house. Sara’s boyfriend seems to have been living a double life and now, his former associates, Chad (Barry Sloane) and Hollander (Michael Keaton) have come seeking what was stolen from them.
Everyone is professed to be a critic and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but one thing is sure: there is no authority who can securely say exactly how a blind person, who probably has some post-traumatic stress disorder, should be reacting to a life threating torturous home invasion. Unfortunately for Monaghan this seems to be one of the main focuses of a faulted film.

Two major things stood out as odd, first, that Sara would be totally oblivious to instinct as she roams around the apartment, back and forth past her dead boyfriend’s body and that she would seem like a stranger in her own home. Technically she should have advantage on her home turf, as this is her domain, the place she is most familiar with. Also any able-bodied person has a 6th sense of knowing that someone is watching them, when someone is in trouble or something is wrong so it is naturally expected, and proven, that a visually impaired person has a greater sense of their surroundings and the actions that happen within them. Monaghan unfortunately breaks the illusion in one obvious way as her eyes clearly register the water jug hanging above her head in the torturing scene (granted it must be excessively hard to not see things when you can actually see things!).

The direction, edit and cinematography of the film was rather disappointing. There was not much suspense at all, the whole film is played out right in front of you in the open so you basically get to watch her being scared all the time opposed to feeling her fear. There are no tight shots that create tension, suspicion or suspense, there is no sharp and edgy editing to build suspense, making the intruder mysterious and dangerous – basics of a home invasion suspense film.

Because the film does not command your attention it is more likely that you will start noticing flaws in the continuity, set and props. You may also start asking questions like “why doesn’t she have any scarring on her face from such a close range bomb blast?” or you may notice that the balcony wall moves when they lean against it. The most obvious recorded goof though is that throughout the film there is a reference to 29 Diamonds and they keep asking ‘where is the other 28?’ When we finally see the diamonds in an ice tray there are around 40 of them.

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