The Good Neighbour reminds viewers that just because a movie is a guilty pleasure, that doesn’t always indicate that it’s a bad movie. Stephan Rick’s thriller is far from great but, as far as meeting expectations, I had a lot of fun with his movie.
Remaking his own 2011 movie, Unter Nachbarn, the German filmmaker casts Luke Kleintank (Midway) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Stonewall, Black Butterfly) as David and Robert, countryside neighbours who are quickly acquainted with each other when David moves in after accepting a new residence as a journalist at a local newspaper. After some drinks and partying, the men find themselves at the scene of a crime after David accidentally strikes and kills a cyclist with his car. The victim, a woman David had exchanged numbers with at a club, is abandoned at the side of the road as advised by a panicked Robert. David, coincidentally, is assigned to covering the story of the hit-and-run, and the woman’s sister Vanessa (Eloise Smyth) wants to be involved with the research and investigation. Meanwhile, Robert tries to cover their tracks; even if that means being deceptive.
The Good Neighbour makes the viewer giggle by pitching absurd situations, soapy line readings, and scenes of Meyers acting amusingly stoney against Kleintank’s constant hysterics. I particularly cracked up when David asks Robert for an empty gas tank to fill up a car, only for the enigmatic Robert to pull out a full tank from around the corner of his kitchen. However, as silly as it may get, Stephan Rick’s movie is entertaining in ways that are more intentional than not. Though it feels longer than it is, the film keeps the audience guessing as to how (or if) the neighbours will escape out of hot water.
Smyth also has some solid scenes where she starts piecing together loose ends. I would’ve preferred more scenes with her playing detective, and less scenes of Robert being a stalking creep.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie