The Nest, 2020.
Written and Directed by Sean Durkin.
Starring Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Oona Roche, and Anne Reid.
Rory (Jude Law) and his wife Allison (Carrie Coon) move back to the UK when he gets offered a big opportunity. Once in situ surrounded by acres of land and a country mansion things seem idyllic. However, as Rory’s ambition begins outgrowing his abilities things start unravelling.
Writer director Sean Durkin has given us a film of brooding intensity with The Nest. A character piece grounded by powerhouse performances from Jude Law and Carrie Coon, it examines the excess of Eighties culture against a seismic shift in cultural identity. Law plays Rory who is a wunderkind of the financial markets chasing wealth and status, while his wife Alison personified by Coon provides stability.
From their understated affluence in the US to a huge meandering country pile with grounds and potential for paddocks, Durkin ensures his film is filled with quiet moments. Money markets, big business power lunches and trading floors are mentioned but never seen, while he concentrates on the family. Rory is a plethora of ostentatious mannerisms who trades on appearances, perceived opulence and a belief that money will eradicate his lower class upbringing. Alison meanwhile accepts him ignoring his superficiality as their marriage begins unravels.
This era was defined by huge properties and monetary indulgence whether through houses, clothing or social expectations. Status in the Eighties was everything and outward appearances fed into insecurities, within an egocentric culture where cash was king. The Nest subtly exists in that period peeling back the layers of a relationship in free fall. Hemmed in by masculine posturing Alison is refreshingly outspoken, socially unpredictable and more than capable of diminishing her husband. It is their dynamic and that performance which elevates The Nest at every turn.
As Alison and Rory are driven further apart by the escalation of his erratic behaviour and pig headed elitism, it begins to influence their children. Both Oona Roche and Charlie Shotwell work hard in small roles to imbue this tale with a degree of adolescent angst, especially where Roche’s Samantha is concerned. There are universal truths in The Nest which anyone with ambition will recognise, while the arresting silence which populates much of this film is disarming. It is a period specific cautionary tale before on-line culture redefined the way we do things.
Laced with flashes of female empowerment and misogynistic tendencies it taps into our preoccupations with personal identity defined by the accrual of wealth. Today wealth is a relative term which can mean any number of things. This measured meditation on personal connection might not get to the point in a hurry, but sometimes impact is more important than pace.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★