The Nest (MA) - 107 minutes
A house of cards, waiting to come tumbling down.
We’re in Ronald Reagan’s America – specially 1986 – and a British-born stock trader Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) married to a US horse riding instructor, Allison (Carrie Coon), is having a hard time of it.
On the surface all appears peachy.
Rory has a good relationship with their 10-year-old son Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell) and has taken his wife’s older, high school-age daughter, Samantha (Oona Roche), to heart and she to hers.
Each morning, he gently wakes Allison with a freshly prepared cuppa and she reaches for a cigarette.
But in truth, business-wise Rory isn’t doing well.
One day he surprises her with the news that he has an opportunity back in his native London, one with his old boss, Arthur Davis (Michael Culkin).
Rory talks up the fact that this will be his business that Davis is merely helping to bankroll, when that isn’t the truth.
Against Allison’s better judgment, the family moves for the fourth time in 10 years.
Rory departs ahead of the other three and greets them with gusto in the driveway of a large, old, ostentatious, country mansion for which he has paid a year’s rent in advance and has the first option to buy.
He encourages Allison to set up her own horse-riding training business on the large grounds (she worked for someone else in the States), even organising workers to begin construction.
The boss welcomes him with open arms, recognising he is a super salesman with the gift of the gab (read that to mean big talker).
Immediately Rory begins smooth talking the firm’s clientele, wining and dining all who come within his purview.
Allison queries where the money is coming from, but he simply brushes off her enquires.
From a poor background, Rory is constantly thinking big, dreaming of making his fortune.
And then things take a turn for the worse.
Meanwhile, his wife and son are struggling, while Samantha is acting up.
The Nest tightens its grip as it develops.
A feeling of unease permeates the entirety of proceedings, although the reason for that only becomes clear over time.
The narrative has been well constructed by writer and director Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), who lived between America and England in the ‘80s and ‘90s and has adopted a slow burn approach.
A haunting soundtrack by Richard Reed Parry elevates the tightrope nature of the piece.
I greatly appreciated the strength in the characterisations of the main players.
Jude Law does a fine job portraying driven ambition at a high price.
Carrie Coon is superb. She has strength and vulnerability down pat.
Allison calling Rory out in a restaurant is one of the film’s high points.
The Nest works its way into our psyche as we search for a way through the quagmire waiting for an explosion.
It is a movie that merits attention.
Rated MA, it scores an 8 out of 10.