Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: The Nest

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Copyright: IFC Films

 

Ambition and prosperity don’t always meet – and The Nest wishes to show that from the outset. The latest film from director Sean Durkin sees him pull out all the stops in showing a relatively placid family life, one that is thrown into misery and distress by a sudden move to Britain.

Here, the breadwinner of the family tries to conduct business at his old firm, the one that gave him the courage to move beyond his means to the far-off riches of New York. His wife and two children are trophies of his careerist attitude, but they too suffer at the hands of his faux-inspiration and savvy business mind.

Depending solely on the engrossing chemistry between Jude Law and Carrie Coon, The Nest depicts the O’Hara family as relatively happy, but otherwise muted in their love for one another. Aspiration and money-making intentions are at the core of Rory (Law) but his self-interest and driving passion to make profits are the things governing his family’s fate.

Rory provides for them as best he can, but Durkin’s direction makes it relatively clear that he is more interested in providing for himself, and as his family fall by the wayside of his initially budding professional career, his interest in his loved ones wanes.

The cracks begin to show, and it’s thanks to the stern and cold direction of Durkin that we’re able to see this breakdown, not just in his business relations, but for his family too.

The love within the O’Hara family is smattering at best, the vile hate and loathing between Rory and Allison (Coon) delightfully horrid. The odd lies are what breaks this love down, though: Rory heading off to watch the Arsenal match, telling his wife instead that he’s going to work, visiting his mother and pushing forward with the same excuse. A white lie, but one that relays questions of intention and interest.

The breakdown between the two is sudden and natural, no significant reason can really be found, and the issues that almost every family struggle with are thrown in all at once. In usual cases, these would be the signs of a flagging narrative, one that needs to use the crutches of safe material. For The Nest, though, it revels in these tropes, the abundance here makes for a manic lifestyle that has such a tremendous effect on the family.

They’re never able to pull themselves through the tragedy, though, a self-inflicted wound brought on by overindulgence and discomfort.

Startlingly brilliant, The Nest is an injection of bleak stylings and great direction from someone who still has much to offer. Durkin displays a man trying to piece together his life in the most violently inconsistent way possible, bouncing from problem to problem, piling on the stress and only half-heartedly dealing with the real core of his issues.

The family around him are underutilised, but suffer just as much as their leading man, his grand estate and larger-than-life personality a stark notion of the shallow and lonely existence he has beyond the flash house and city life. A final, lingering shot of a broken family surrounding a breakfast table says more about The Nest and its intentions than any other moment in this brilliant slice of drama.