15 April 2024

Film Review – The Nest (2021)

Everyone has experienced those instances where they find themselves in the presence of two people who are at odds with each other, and the tension is palpable. Those moments are made even more awkward when those feelings spill over into harsh words and hurtful comments. The Nest, which features Jude Law and Carrie Coon as a married couple who relocate from Upstate New York to the English countryside with their two children, is filled with such moments as the audience is privy to a marriage which becomes increasingly strained.

Set in the mid-eighties, where smoking indoors is the norm and news about President Reagan is on the radio, husband and wife Rory and Allison appear not unlike to any other family. Their children Sam and Ben are happy, Allison teaches horseback riding and Rory is a trader. However, all is not as it seems, and Rory convinces the family that better opportunities lie across the pond. It is clear that Rory is alone in this thinking, but nevertheless the family moves to an old mansion in Surrey. Rory enrols Ben into an expensive private school and buys Allison a horse – these displays of extravagance are supposed to be proof of a better life, but it is clear that Rory is living beyond his means.

The Nest watches as a parable – the story of the man who always wants more. It is a fascinating portrait of a marriage and a family, and what happens when our dreams and ambitions no longer align. The film is a before and after of those pivotal moments in a relationship – before we moved away, after we relocated, before we started to fall apart, after relations became strained to breaking point. There is also a clear juxtaposition between the two settings of New York and Surrey, which is also evident in the cinematography. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener.

Law is great as a man who has self-diagnosed himself as a childhood survivor who deserves so much more. He is incredibly charming, effortlessly wooing clients and bringing Allison a coffee in bed every morning without fail, yet in a moment he can transform into a petulant and entitled boy. Rory also freely admits that he is a liar, and as such the audience never quite knows which Rory is the real one. Indeed, when the audience witnesses Rory visit his mother, it is intriguing to see the relationship between them.

Coon is especially noteworthy as Allison. Allison doesn’t always say much, but when she does, she makes it count and her cold comments hit home even more than Rory’s mean outbursts. It is clever how writer and director Sean Durkin has made a film where the audience doesn’t necessarily like any of the characters or wants to root for them, and yet we still want to watch them and see their lives unfold.

The Nest is a slow burn film that revels in its ambiguity, which may be slightly frustrating for audiences who want clear cut answers and outcomes. However, therein lies its greatness as there is a stark realism and relatability to The Nest that cannot be denied. The final scene will also leave audiences with much to consider.

★★★1/2


Drama | USA, 2020 | 15 | Blu-ray, DVD, Digital | 24th January 2022 (UK) | Picturehouse Entertainment | Dir. Sean Durkin | Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Oona Roche, Charlie Shotwell, Adeel Akhtar, Tanya Allen


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