THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN (2021) – Benedict Cumberbatch Performance Lifts Uneven Bio Pic


THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN (2021), an original Prime Video movie, is an elegant and colorful bio pic of Louis Wain, a 19th century English artist famous for his drawings of cats. Wain is played here by Benedict Cumberbatch.

And Cumberbatch is the reason you want to see this one. He delivers a great performance as he always does, although truth be told, Claire Foy is equally as good as Wain’s wife Emily, but she is in the film far less than Cumberbatch. Still, these two powerful performances carry this movie, which is a good thing, because the rest of the movie is rather uneven.

Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a kind soul and a bit of an odd duck. As depicted in this movie, he’s definitely on the spectrum, possibly schizophrenic or autistic, but one thing that is indisputable is he is an extraordinary artist and can sketch animals in seconds. In 1881, his father dies, and Louis is left to provide for his ailing mother and five sisters. He secures a full-time position as an artist for a major English newspaper, as its editor Sir William Ingram (Toby Jones) is fascinated by Wain’s work. Over the years, Sir William serves as a mentor for Wain and remains a constant friend throughout his life.

The family also hires a governess, Emily Richardson (Claire Foy) to help care for the children. Emily and Louis instantly share a connection, and not too long afterwards, they fall in love and get married, which causes a stir since Emily is not of the same social class as Louis. The two share a wonderful life and inspire each other to create art as they both see the world the same way. It’s also during this time that they find a stray cat and welcome it into their home, which begins Louis’ obsession with drawing cats.

But when Emily is diagnosed with breast cancer, their magical life comes to an end. After Emily’s death, Louis struggles to keep himself together, and from here on out his life is one tragedy after another, but he finds that the harder and more horrific his life becomes, the more brilliant and vibrant his cat drawings become. He is able to turn pain into art which while providing the world great beauty, drives his own mental health deeper into despair.

The “electrical” in the film’s title refers to Louis’ unique take on electricity. He views it as something more than just a mysterious power source for lights. He saw it as a power source for people, something that could be harnessed artistically, and he would have electric moments where he would feel the electricity and use that power to create his art. Emily was one of the few people who understood what he meant by this. As a fiction writer, I can’t deny that when I am in that “zone” where words fly easily, it does feel like an outside force like electricity has entered my brain, because often I write things which I will read later and say to myself, “I wrote that?” so it’s a concept that I definitely understand.

As I said, while I enjoyed THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN, it is a rather uneven film. I definitely enjoyed the first half more than the second. The first half of the movie which depicts first the courtship and then the marriage of Louis and Emily is lively, entertaining, and fun. Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy share a warm chemistry and really bring these two characters and their love for each other to life. When describing the first half of this movie, words like “delightful” and “charming” come to mind.

But once Emily falls ill and eventually passes, the entire tone of the film changes, as Louis is assaulted by one mishap after another, some small, others tragic. And this part goes on for quite a while, and it’s simply not as satisfying as the first half of the movie.

And while the screenplay by Simon Stephenson and Will Sharpe, who directed, does a nice job depicting Louis Wain the man, one thing the film surprisingly does not do is offer much insight at all into the cat drawings. I mean, the audience gets to see plenty of these drawings, but no light is shed on Wain’s thinking behind them, and perhaps this is so because we might not know his thinking behind them, but the film doesn’t offer anything that speaks to this other than that Wain can draw cats and here are the drawings. There’s also not much insight into his relationship with cats. So, if you love cats, you might enjoy this movie, but I would argue that strangely cats really aren’t featured all too prominently here.

What is featured is yet another tremendous performance by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is the reason I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. He portrays Wain as a stand-up decent man, and his initial awkward attempts to woo Emily are fun to watch. Later, as Wain becomes more and more haunted by his own mental demons, Cumberbatch captures this part of the man as well. The make-up here is also topnotch, and Cumberbatch looks believable as Wain as both a young man and a very old man later in the movie.

The last time I saw Cumberbatch, he played Greville Wynne in THE COURIER (2020), and he provided another fascinating performance as another real-life figure. I enjoyed THE COURIER somewhat more than I did THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN, but in terms of acting, I thought Cumberbatch was even better here as Louis Wain than he was as Greville Wynne. And every time Wain mentioned electricity, I couldn’t help but think of another amazing biographical performance by Cumberbatch, as Thomas Edison in THE CURRENT WAR (2017). Benedict Cumberbatch seems to excel at playing these historical figures.

Claire Foy is also wonderful as Emily Richardson. She plays Emily as quite the eccentric character in her own right, the perfect match for Louis, and as I said, Foy and Cumberbatch are electric together. Had Foy been in this entire movie, I’d list her right up there with Cumberbatch for being the main reason to see this one, and up to a point she is, but her character dies midway through.

Foy is a wonderful actress, known for her work on the TV show THE CROWN (2016-2020), but she’s turned in some memorable movie performances as well. She stood out as Neil Armstrong’s wife Janet in FIRST MAN (2018), as well as in the Steven Soderbergh thriller UNSANE (2018). I first noticed her as the fiery “girl” in the Nicholas Cage action/fantasy/horror movie SEASON OF THE WITCH (2011).

Veteran character actor Toby Jones adds solid support as newspaper editor Sir William Ingram. Jones has been in a gazillion films and adds quality support to each and every one of them. And I always like to point out that he’s the son of actor Freddie Jones, who got his start in Hammer Films, and debuted as one of the more memorable Frankenstein “monsters” ever, in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) with Peter Cushing.

Director Will Sharpe achieves mixed results here. At times, this one looks like an authentic period piece, while at others, the sets look cheap and backdrops phony. Now, I realize this may have been on purpose, to match the look of Wain’s drawings, but I can’t say I was convinced that this was the case. Had the entire movie owned this look, then I would have bought that premise more readily, but as it stands, it doesn’t. The film also doesn’t do the best job balancing its two moods, light and fun during the first half, and dark and tragic during its second.

But most disappointing of all is the lack of insight on Wain’s famous cat sketches. Little time is spent on what was going through Wain’s mind when he sketched those cats or his feelings towards cats in general. And no light is shed whatsoever on how he drew his art. There’s no depiction of any artistic process. The one time the film does this is Wain’s advice to Emily about her own art, where he tells her that there’s really only one rule to drawing, and that is to look. That is a notable moment in the movie, but it needed more of these.

While I did enjoy THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN, it did struggle to hold my interest the longer it went on. Keeping it together and the main reason to see this movie is the fabulous work of Benedict Cumberbatch with his portrayal of Louis Wain.

The first half of THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN is indeed electrical. The second half barely purrs.


SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021) – Superior Action Carries This Marvel Adventure but Weak Characterizations Prevent It from Soaring


I finally caught up with Marvel’s SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021) now that it’s streaming for free on Disney +.

And while I liked it better than BLACK WIDOW (2021) I can’t say that I loved it.

People have been complaiing that the Marvel superhero movies have run their course for a long time now, but I haven’t been one of those voices. I’ve loved the Marvel superhero films. Since IRON MAN (2008), they have been on a remarkable run churning out one quality superhero movie after another. In fact, most of their movies have made my top ten lists during the years of their releases. One, BLACK PANTHER (2018), transcended the genre and was as insightful a movie about race as any other serious drama.

All this being said, it’s been a while since I’ve really loved a Marvel movie. They are definitely struggling to reclaim their mojo after AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019) wrapped up most of their initial ongoing superhero storylines, which begged the question, where do they go from here? Well, so far, they haven’t really gone anywhere. They seem to be running in place.

But that’s not to say I didn’t like SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. I did. I just didn’t love it.

One of the reasons I didn’t love it is I’m just not a huge fantasy fan, and the bulk of this movie’s plot revolves around fantasy elements rather than superhero components.

Shaun (Simu Liu) is a young man in his twenties who lives an unassuming life, working as a valet with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). But in reality, his real name is Shang-Chi, and he’s the son of two powerful warriors, Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and Ying Li (Fala Chen). Thousands of years ago, Xu Wenwu gets his hands on the Ten Rings, mystical weapons that give him unstoppable power. He goes through the centuries wielding that power in selfish ways, doing whatever he pleases, until he meets and is bested by Ying Li. They fall in love, have two children, and life is grand until people seeking vengeance against Xu Wenwu murder Ying Li, and they’re able to do this because as parents, Ying Li and Xu Wenwu had given up their powers.

Afterwards, all bets are off as Xu Wenwu vows revenge against these murderers and asks his young son Shang-Chi to help him. But, Shang-Chi doesn’t see himself as a junior version of his father, and so he runs away to the United States where he changes his name to Shaun and tries to live the good life. Which is what he does until his father comes looking for him. See, it seems daddy had heard from mommy, but mommy is dead so…. story-wise, the third act of this movie becomes muddled and is by far the weakest part of the movie. It involves battling dragons, a special effects extravaganza, but hardly compelling storytelling.

I also had to keep reminding myself that this movie’s title was SHANG- CHI, not XU WENWU, because at times the story is much more about Shang-Chi’s father than him.

Also, it’s another origin tale which is almost unnecessary. The final reel has Shang-Chi meeting some familiar Marvel faces explaining to him that they need him and that his life is about to change forever. Had this movie begun this way, now that would have been interesting!

By far, my favorite part of SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS was its action sequences. It contains some truly memorable scenes. The chase scene on the bus is exceedingly well-done and exciting. Likewise, the chase scene at the fight club is also rousing. However, the climactic battle during the film’s third act falls rather flat. Overall, I enjoyed the work of director Destin Daniel Cretton here. Visually, this one does not disappoint.

But the script by Cretton, Dave Callaham, and Andrew Lanham isn’t quite up to the usual Marvel standards. The humor is there and largely works, but the story is meh and the characterizations mediocre at best. A lot of the time I just didn’t know what the characters were thinking or feeing, especially Shang Chi and his father Xu Wenwu. Not a good thing in a movie. And at times, the story couldn’t decide whether Xu Wenwu was a villain or a sympathetic character. The characterizations were not clearly defined.

Dave Callaham co-wrote the screenplay of MORTAL KOMBAT (2021) which shared a lot of the same thematic and story elements with SHANG-CHI. He also co-wrote the deplorable WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020). I enjoyed SHANG-CHI more than these two movies.

Simu Liu is okay as Shang Chi. He’s likable enough, but that’s about it. I can’t say he ever wowed me here.

Tony Chiu-Wai Leung fares somewhat better as Xu Wenwu, although he too suffers from writing that does not clearly define his character. Is he a villain or sympathetic? In the film’s opening moments, when we learn what he has been up to the past thousand years, he certainly seems like a clear-cut villain. But then he becomes a daddy and gives up his evil ways, only to revert to them to seek vengeance for the murder of his wife, a decision that in many stories could be a sympathetic one. But here, it doesn’t help that the film’s hero, Shang-Chi, kinda hates his father.

Awkwafina is better than both these two as Shang-Chi’s best friend Katy. She’s funny and lively throughout. Unfortunately though, she’s reduced to being just a sidekick.

Fala Chen is very good as Shang-Chi’s mother Li, but she’s mostly in this movie via flashback. At first, especially since it’s her voice telling the story in the film’s opening moments, you think she’s going to be a more prominent character, but she’s not. And she pretty much disappears during the film’s second half. A head scratcher.

Meng-er Zhang is solid as Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing, but sadly she plays second fiddle to Shang-Chi throughout this one.

And Michelle Yeoh shows up as Shang-Chi’s aunt, Ying Nan, and she’s fine in this supporting role.

Finally, there’s poor Ben Kingsley playing Trevor Slattery, a character he played back in IRON MAN 3 (2013). Slattery was the main villain in that one, until it was revealed that he wasn’t, that he was an actor who was only pretending to be the bad guy. Here, he’s imprisoned for that transgression, but he helps our heroes escape, and he spends the rest of the movie as light comic relief. And he’s fairly funny, but it’s Ben Kingsley for crying out loud!

The action sequences in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS are so good they are definitely worth a look, but with a mediocre plot and weak characterizations, the film is certainly not one of Marvel’s better superhero movies. While it had its moments, and there were a few times when I was really into this one, taken as a whole, it’s only slightly better than average.

Unlike many of its Marvel predecessors, I don’t think this one will be making my top 10 list at the end of the year.


RED NOTICE (2021) – Silly Action Comedy Wastes Talents of Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot


How can an action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot possibly be bad?

Read on.

RED NOTICE (2021), a new action comedy now available on Netflix, has no business not being an absolute crowd-pleaser. Yet it’s not.

FBI agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is hot on the trail of the world’s most notorious art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds). It doesn’t take long for Hartley to capture Booth, but soon afterwards, he finds himself framed for a crime, which gets him sent off to prison. Not only does he find himself in the same prison as Booth, but in the same cell! Now, how’s that for a realistic plot point? Truth be told, this film is played for laughs, and its story is filled with twists and turns, so ultimately this ridiculous turn of events does make sense in terms of the story, but like the rest of this movie, it’s so farfetched it just comes off as plain old dumb. Anyway, Hartley and Booth realize there’s a more dangerous player at large who is pulling all the strings, someone known as The Bishop (Gal Gadot), and so they decide to team up, escape from prison, and capture the Bishop so Hartley can clear his name and Booth can return to being the number one art thief.

This actually would be fun if the script were any good.

Yup, as usually is the case with films that struggle, it’s the script that sinks things. In this case, RED NOTICE was written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, and he fares much better as a director than as a writer.

RED NOTICE is polished and contains a lot of neat action scenes, the best coming early on, the chase scene where Hartley pursues Booth and eventually captures him. This sequence is fast, furious, and fun. No complaints here. But as soon as characters start speaking and plot points roll, everyone and everything in this movie suffers from a case of the stupids.

It’s all supposed to be funny. Every five minutes or so it seems there’s a new plot twist, where this character now is teamed with that character, blah, blah, blah. But none of it works because no care is made to make it at all believable. For instance, even Hartley’s and Booth’s escape from prison is ludicrous. It happens only because it’s a plot point. In fact, everything these guys do works. There’s no conflict, push back, or anything indicating that this is anything more than a bad movie plot.

Plus these two guys do not like each other, and yet we’re supposed to believe they do? There’s a ridiculous torture scene where to get Booth to talk they torture Hartley. Booth says it’s a waste of time because he doesn’t care about Hartley, which is true, and yet he breaks down and speaks anyway. Forced and contrived, and stupid.

RED NOTICE is rated PG-13. It may as well have been rated G. It’s as sanitary and safe as you’re going to find an “action” movie. There’s some language, sure, but in terms of anything that resembles hard hitting action or risky humor? Nope.

Rawson Marshall Thurber also wrote and directed another Dwayne Johnson vehicle, the mediocre thriller SKYSCRAPER (2018) that also suffered from a lack of realism. That being said, I enjoyed SKYSCRAPER more than I did RED NOTICE.

Ryan Reynolds probably fares the best here as art thief Nolan Booth. He’s about the only character who made me laugh. However, he has about a gazillion gags in this movie and only about a quarter of them work, so there are a lot of misfires. And don’t expect Deadpool humor. This film is far too tame for that.

Dwayne Johnson pretty much plays the straight man to Reynolds’ antics. I usually really enjoy Dwayne Johnson. He possesses a very likeable screen persona. But here in RED NOTICE, I found him uncharacteristically dull and boring. Mostly because his character like the rest of this movie comes off as phony.

Gal Gadot doesn’t fare any better than Johnson. Her character, The Bishop, may be sexy, but she’s about as interesting as a bishop on a chess board. She does get one enjoyable fight sequence with Johnson and Reynolds, but again, without any relevance.

Ritu Arya plays Interpol agent Inspector Urvashi Das, and she’s about the only character in the movie who comes off as real. Unfortunately, all she gets to do throughout the movie is show up too late, allowing the three leads in this one to escape, time and time again.

And can you ask for a more lame title than RED NOTICE? How about RED NAPKIN? RED PAPER CLIP? RED TOOTHPICK? Actually those titles might be better. Truth be told, there is a reason for the title. Red Notice refers to Interpol’s highest level arrest warrant. So, there you have it. The reason for the lame title. It’s still a bad title.

I really wanted to enjoy RED NOTICE. When I sat down to watch it, I was in the mood for a clever action comedy starring three of my favorite actors, Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. And while they were in the movie, what was missing was the clever part. There’s really nothing intelligent about this one at all.

RED NOTICE plays more like dead notice, as in dead on arrival. Three talented actors, some slick action scenes, and a story that could have been fun are all wasted in a tale that spends no time whatsoever trying to make any of what happens on screen believable or plausible.


THE HARDER THEY FALL (2021) – Stylish Western Reminiscent of Spaghetti Westerns of Yesteryear


You can’t ask for a more stylish western than THE HARDER THEY FALL (2021), a new Netflix movie by writer/director/singer/songwriter Jeymes Samuel, but in spite of all the bells and whistles, its story is all rather ordinary, and as a result, this well-made actioner didn’t move me as much as I thought it would.

That’s not to say THE HARDER THEY FALL isn’t entertaining. It is. Director Jeymes Samuel holds nothing back here. His kinetic directorial style using everything from oversized captions to extreme close-ups, as well as colorful, brilliant cinematography, and hard, brutal and bloody violence, reminded me a lot of the classic Spaghetti Westerns of yesteryear, films directed by Sergio Leone and oftentimes starring Clint Eastwood. The only thing missing is a music score by Ennio Morricone.

Of course, THE HARDER THEY FALL has its own signature music score, by songwriter/director Jeymes Samuel, and like most of this movie, it works wonderfully. The only thing lacking in this movie is a compelling storyline, which is something it almost has, but just falls short.

THE HARDER THEY FALL is about two rival black gangs in the old west. Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) is an outlaw who robs other outlaws. He also spends his time hunting down the gang members who murdered his mother and father in front of him when he was only ten years old. The gang leader who gunned down his parents, Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is in prison, but when his gang breaks him out of his confinement on a train, Love decides it’s time to take him down. And the two ruthless gangs head on a collision course to see who will ultimately survive.

As plots go, this one is okay. The problem is the film doesn’t do the best job of building suspense or excitement as Love closes in on Buck, and when they finally do meet, it’s somewhat of a disappointment. The film’s ultimate conclusion includes a telling reveal, which is one of the best parts of this otherwise ordinary story, but after a slew of violent scenes and fights, the ending just doesn’t generate the nail biting tension one would expect.

I remember being on edge for much of Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012). I was never on edge while watching THE HARDER THEY FALL.

Jonathan Majors is very good as Nat Love. He gives Love a quiet disposition which makes the character a thoughtful outlaw and one who has earned his followers’ respect. He’s also as tough as nails, and there’s little doubt that he’s up to the task of taking down a larger than life villain like Rufus Buck.

As that larger than life villain Rufus Buck, Idris Elba does what he always does, which is deliver a solid performance and make his character believable. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t really allow for Elba to do as much as he can do, and his best scene sadly is his last one. The film focuses more on Nat Love than Rufus Buck, and so Elba, while he does get plenty of screen time, doesn’t get to really dominate this movie like he is capable of doing. Elba fared better in the recent DC superhero movie THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) as that script allowed him to work at his full potential.

Zazie Beetz is spirited and tough as Mary Fields, the woman in Nat Love’s life, and a valued member of his gang. Regina King is equally as spirited and tough as Trudy Smith, the woman in Rufus Buck’s life. Their climactic fight scene is one of the best scenes in the movie. In fact, I’d argue that it’s a more riveting sequence than the confrontation between Love and Buck.

Also standing out is LaKeith Stanfield as Cherokee Bill, the fastest gun in Buck’s camp. Stanfield delivers a terrific performance, as he did in the recent JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (2021), where he played Bill O’Neal.

Delroy Lindo also turns in a commanding performance as Marshall Bass Reeves, a nice follow-up to his strong performance in Spike Lee’s DA 5 BLOODS (2020).

I also enjoyed R J Cyler as Jim Beckworth, Edi Gathegi as Bill Pickett, and Danielle Deadwyler as Cuffee, three other members of Love’s gang. Each of these folks have distinctive personalities which makes them all very watchable.

And all of these characters by the way are based on real people. As the opening subtitles state, the story is fiction, but the people actually existed.

For the most part I liked THE HARDER THEY FALL. Its energetic lively style is infectious, so it’s difficult not to enjoy this one. However, it’s unable to lift its standard plot into anything special or memorable, so at times, even with its stylized violence and notable characters and strong performances, it doesn’t resonate any deeper than a glorified music video.

And at two hours and ten minutes, that’s a long music video.

To be fair, THE HARDER THEY FALL has its moments, and there are times where it is spot on and does resonate. But there simply aren’t a lot of these moments.

Not enough for me to fall hard for this one.


THE VOYEURS (2021) – Erotic Thriller Mostly Just Eye Candy


THE VOYEURS (2021), a new thriller by writer/director Michael Mohan, now available on Prime Video, asks the question, if you can see your neighbors through their open window, does that mean you have an open invitation to watch them?

The answer seems fairly obvious… no…. but several characters in this movie feel otherwise.

The first half of THE VOYEURS does a good job examining the moral implications of spying on one’s neighbors, while the second half deteriorates into a far less believable tale, jettisoning its thought-provoking inquiries and entering the world of plot twists and crime plots, the result being a mixed bag of a film that misses its mark by plenty by the time the end credits role.

THE VOYEURS opens with super cute couple Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith) moving into their first apartment together and starting an exciting new life with each other. They soon discover that their good looking neighbors like to have sex with their shades open in full view of anyone who wants to watch, and Pippa and Thomas in spite of discussing “should they or shouldn’t they” find themselves watching regularly and becoming sexually aroused while doing so. It’s all harmless, until they spy the husband, a professional photographer, having sex with other women during the day while his wife is away. He’s also physically abusive to her when she accuses him of cheating on her.

When she walks into the eye doctor office in which Pippa works, and Pippa finds herself giving her an eye exam, they make small talk and hit it off as friends, and they agree to see each other socially. Pippa tells Thomas she feels an obligation to tell the woman that her husband is cheating on her, but Thomas tells her absolutely not, as they are not even supposed to know that information, since the only reason they do know is because they’ve been watching through the window.

But Pippa can’t resist, and as she goes ahead with her plan to alert her new friend that her husband isn’t being faithful to her, unexpected tragic results occur instead, and that’s only the beginning. It gets much, much worse.

This actually sounds better than it is. I really enjoyed the first half of THE VOYEURS, mostly because it presented an intriguing story and more importantly it was believable. But the second half, which exposes a devious plot, is far less convincing and as a result far less enjoyable.

The plot and theme definitely calls to mind Alfred Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW (1954), but also Brian De Palma’s BODY DOUBLE (1984). I thought a lot about De Palma while watching THE VOYEURS. Had this been a De Palma film, it would have been an much more violent and bloody movie, but the thing is, the way the second half of this movie plays out, had it become over-the-top violent a la De Palma, it would have been a much more entertaining vehicle. The second half falls flat mostly because it’s not convincing, but also because the thriller aspects just aren’t very thrilling.

The first half of the movie is much smarter and as such works better.

The cast is very good. Sydney Sweeney is adorable as the spunky Pippa, and she definitely draws the audience in with her as she steps up her game to become involved in the lives of her neighbors. Justice Smith is likable as Pippa’s boyfriend Thomas, but his reactions in the second half of the film are a major part of the lack of believability factor. His character reacts in some bizarre and unbelievable ways.

I really liked Ben Hardy as Seb, the professional photographer who cheats on his wife, although he doesn’t see it as cheating. He thinks it shouldn’t matter since it doesn’t matter to him, and it doesn’t change the fact that he loves his wife. Hardy makes Seb the perfect alpha self-centered and self-confident male. His performance doesn’t miss a beat.

And Natasha Liu Bordizzo is pretty darn good herself as Seb’s wife Julia, a sympathetic character until late in the game when things change

THE VOYEURS contains lots of nudity and sex scenes, which makes this one a rather erotic thriller, and the scenes are all well done, much better than the thriller scenes later in the film.

The best thing that writer/director Michael Mohan does with this one is he definitely flips it so in the film’s final reel, when Pippa goes to Seb and poses for him in his apartment, we the audience become the voyeurs, watching something we probably shouldn’t want to watch, yet we are fascinated to see what will happen between Pippa and Seb.

Unfortunately, all that comes after this scene is forced, contrived, and simply not as good as what had come before it.

THE VOYEURS is a mild thriller, and works better as an erotic drama. It’s also a showcase for Sydney Sweeney, who’s the best part of this one. She’s good throughout.

While there’s a lot to look at in THE VOYEURS, not all of it makes sense, and it fails to generate the required suspense needed for this type of thriller to be successful. As a result, this one is strictly eye candy