A remote country estate seems an appropriate backdrop to flaunt one’s wealth and impress acquaintances – that is of course if one actually has the finances in the first place.
When a marriage is built on secrets, it is only a matter of time till the cracks begin to show, and for Rory (Jude Law) and Allison (Carrie Coon), the relocation of their lives, along with their children, from the United States to London is the catalyst to their downfall. Having moved four times in the previous ten years, Allison is unsure of the prospective dream being sold to her by her cash-hungry husband, but decides to once again trust him and indulge chasing his fantasies one last time. Once the family arrive at their new rented manor house in Surrey however, all of their lives begin to unravel in extraordinary fashion and the strain on Rory and Allison’s marriage starts stretching irretrievably.
Embodying the savvy yet delusional Rory, Law is dominant and controlling in his performance, clearly enjoying portraying the personality of his latest role. There is a detailed depth to the character that challenges Law to unearth talents that have been reserved for more sinister family dramas such as this, and he does so with an enticing appeal and repellence. Likewise, Coon steals countless scenes as she fights her own battles, which range from her husband’s martial manipulations to her relationship with her children beginning to slip through her fingers. Together the duo have some electric exchanges, as the wires that unite them slowly begin to snap, the embarrassment of one fuelled by the actions of the other, for better or for worse. It makes for some enthralling (albeit at times slightly predictable) viewing.
Director Sean Durkin sets The Nest in the 1980s and the film is filled with an array of references, from the delicious costumes to the rhythmic beats of the period soundtrack blasting from various stereos. Most curious, however, is the lounge jazz that rings persistently through much of the 107-minute runtime, hauntingly filling the empty rooms of the ancient house and symbolising an unsteadying flow in the routine family life of the O’Hara’s.
Stylistically, comparisons could be made with Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir and Sam Mendes’s Revolutionary Road, but the dominating visual aspect of the film is Mátyás Erdély’s cinematography and the luscious colour palette, which washes the screen in warm hues that are aesthetically elegant throughout, not succumbing to the stereotypical bright popping colours and designs that are so frequently associated with the decade.
The Nest is a slow burner, but persistence is key to its success. The steady build to a climax is unnerving and the viewer is left constantly anticipating where they may ultimately be dropped off. But, much like Rory when he informs a cab driver he has no money, they are left a little too far from home with a couple of big questions unanswered as the screen cuts to black. The lack of final rounding off of the plot leaves the audience in a state of limbo, but perhaps that is the aim – to show that, much like the O’Hara’s, one does not know what the future holds.
The Nest is released in select cinemas on 27th August 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Nest here: