'Good Neighbors' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
The question of who our neighbors really are and what we would do if we discovered their deepest criminal secrets has always provided fascinating material for film noir thrillers. Writer-director Jacob Tierney provides a unique twist on the genre with his new movie ‘Good Neighbors,’ which is based on Chrystine Brouillet’s first novel, 1982’s Chere voisine. After unveiling three diverse characters in the film, their immoral actions make not only each other, but the viewers, question what they should do in such a terrifying situation.
Set against the referendum-era Montreal of 1995, ‘Good Neighbors,’ which will be released at New York's Quad Cinemas on July 29, 2011, follows Spencer (played by Scott Speedman), a recent widower who was left wheelchair-bound after the death of his wife several months earlier. He bonds with Louise (portrayed by Emily Hampshire), who lives on the floor above him in their apartment complex and works as a waitress at a Chinese restaurant. She becomes fascinated with the recent string of murders of young women after one of her co-workers died at the hands of the serial killer.
Victor (played by Jay Baruchel), who just returned to Montreal after teaching in China, moves into Spencer and Louise’s apartment building. He eventually forgoes his initial interest in the poll to make Quebec independent, to instead build a friendship with Spencer and a romantic relationship with Louise. But as the film progresses, the three begin to suspect someone in their apartment building is the one committing the murders.
‘Good Neighbors,’ which is also available in New York via Time Warner Cable On Demand, is unique from other thrillers in the fact that Tierney forgoed the mystery of who the killer is; he instead focused on what the main characters are going to do once they figure out the killer's identity. The filmmaker was able to maintain the mystery of how the characters are going to continue tricking and manipulating each other by placing the story-line in 1995. Technology and DNA research weren’t as fully developed in the mid-1990s as they are now, so the killer is able to trick his neighbors and the police for a considerable amount of time.
The three main actors all have intriguing, believable relationships with one another, as they realistically relate to their respective characters. Tierney specifically wrote the parts for the three actors, and as a result, they develop a unique bond as their characters question why the killer's targeting seemingly innocent women.
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