Review: Hitchcockian 'Greta' has thrills but lacks surprise

March 4, 2019

Courtesy of Focus Features

When you hear someone talking about a stalker film called “Greta” you don’t assume the stalker to be a 66 year old French women and that’s where Neil Jordan’s (“The Crying Game”) latest ropes you in. Headlined by Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) in the titular role of Greta, the film attempts to upend normal stalker conventions, and instead plays into the cliches. Nevertheless, Chloe Grace Moretz is Frances who becomes the fixation of Greta, a sweet old lady residing on the east-side of New York City, after she returns a handbag she found in the subway on the way home from work. As stalker films go, what starts as a  sweet and innocent friendship can’t stay that way for long. Huppert is diabolically up to no good as she follows Frances all across the city after repeatedly being asked to stop. “Everyone needs a friend” - she tells Frances, but she’s not having it.

 

Huppert is magnificent in the film, with Jordan smartly allowing the camera to stay zoomed in on her face for long duration's of time, which combined with Javier Navarrete’s menacing score allows for some unsettling emotions as we trickle towards an otherwise predictable finish. Of course, when Frances starts telling local authorities she’s being harassed, they can’t do anything (and when Greta starts sending threatening texts and pictures, you wonder why she doesn’t just block the crazy lady). What mainly works in the film is the performances (including Maika Monroe playing Frances’ roommate) who seem to overcome the awkward start and embrace the Hitchcockian elements. You’ll see every twist coming, but the control and pace of the overall tone makes “Greta” all the more savory.

 

Grade: B

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