Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe
Release Date: May 28, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz), a sweet, naïve young woman trying to make it on her own in New York City, doesn’t think twice about returning the handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends — but Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta’s life is what it seems in this suspense thriller directed by Academy Award® winner Neil Jordan.
‘Greta’ accompanies young, kindhearted Frances (Moretz), a small town girl trying to make it in New York City who comes across an abandoned handbag on the subway. Unable to resist trying to help, she retrieves the handbag and courtesy of the ID inside is able to track down its rightful owner, a lonely and somewhat odd woman named Greta (Huppert) who she finds herself quickly befriending and spending an increasing amount of time with. Ignoring the warnings and hesitation of her roommate and good friend (Monroe), she continues spending more time Greta, until discovering that she isn’t quite what she thought. But when Frances tries to sever ties and move on with her life she discovers that her new friend also has a dark side and isn’t about to let her go so easily.
Directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Byzantium) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote with Ray Wright (The Crazies 2010) and based upon an initial story by Wright, Jordan does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘Greta’ perfectly guiding along the slowly building sense of tension and unease and always capturing plenty of surrounding beauty along the way. The film also owes its share of credit to the well selected and talented folks that comprise the cast which includes Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Chloë Grace Moretz (November Criminals), Maika Monroe (It Follows), Colm Feore (TV’s The Umbrella Academy) and Stephen Rea (TV’s Counterpart) along with more, nearly all offering solid performances in each of their respective roles overall.
‘Greta’ is a well-crafted and perfectly paced slow burn thriller that casually finds its way up your skin as the odd occurrences and unpleasant experiences between our two leads begin to consistently increase. A somewhat odd, yet welcoming paranoid thriller in its own right that may mostly keep things in familiar territory without anything fresh or exceptionally clever to offer, but nonetheless does an outstanding job of accomplishing precisely what it sets out to and still managing to offer up at least a couple small surprises along the way. Often utilizing extreme close-up shots, and occasional bright, rich colors to contradict with the more prominent dull and worn ones, as well as taking a fairly basic concept and simply concentrating on doing it right first and foremost. I would certainly encourage those who enjoy character driven slow burn thrillers and fans of Jordan, Huppert and/or Moretz to try and make a definite point of checking out ‘Greta’ whenever you have the chance, or if nothing else doing so should you end up coming across it down the road on your favorite premium channel or streaming service. It’s a well-crafted and capably acted thriller that might not be overly groundbreaking or fresh, but does an impressive job of capturing the tone and unease of those familiar patterns and has no trouble keeping things consistently entertaining throughout.
Overall, ‘Greta’ is a solid thriller that crafts an intense and smartly paced slow burning sense of unease throughout. Even while keeping things in fairly familiar territory for the genre, it does a fantastic job of capturing it with style and beauty. ‘Greta’ is definitely recommended, especially for anyone who enjoys an offbeat, slow burn thriller that takes its time building up the tension and allows some room for our characters to build along the way. Any fans of filmmaker Neil Jordan along with stars Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz will also probably want to keep this one on their radar if nothing else. If you’re already at all interested in the film to begin with, it’s probably at least worth a couple hours of your time and the cost of a rental one casual evening.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Greta’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and offers a clean, detailed and sharp presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults to be uncovered along the way. It holds up without issue even during the notably dark sequences, never allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy fans of the film and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a smooth, clean and occasionally somewhat active audio presentation throughout. It often takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send the music, bits of crowd chatter and other various natural audio effects throughout the various speakers, while never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that nicely compliments the film’s slow building tension and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Greta’ includes a couple brief extras. Included on the release is a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 6 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a behind the scenes Featurette ‘Greta: Enemies and Friends’ (running approximately 3 minutes) which features some behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew.