Right at Your Door Reviews
After Lexi leaves home to visit Central LA, there's a terrorist attack involving chemical bombs. After the attack, her musician husband, Brad, fails to find her and reluctantly seals himself inside his house. He will have to deal with this decision in the days to come.
Chris Gorak's directorial debut taps into the post-9/11 paranoia and fear of global terrorism and raises some very tough and emotionally devastating questions by creating nihilistic situations that create the premises for this brilliant, tense film about what started off as a normal day soon turned into an absolute nightmare for the commuters and residents of Los Angeles.
Aspiring musician Brad (Rory Cochrane - "A Scanner Darkly") starts off his day preparing breakfast for his working wife Lexi (Mary McCormack). After he sees her off he sets about his usual routine around the house. But today everything is going to change. His music station is interrupted by the news bulletin that a series of explosions have shaken LA. He looks out his front door and sure enough smoke clouds are rising from the urban centre, and the streets are plagued with emergency services rushing in to help. Brad attempts to leave his suburban area and to rescue his wife - who he hasn't been able to contact. But the police won't let him leave the area. Brad, along with a neighbour, prepare to wait it out, but then comes the report that everyone has to seal their homes as the chemicals from the bombs are now airborne. They seal themselves in, but when Lexi arrives looking for help, Brad has to make a devastating decision - does he let her in and run the risk of contracting the infection, or does he leave her outside to the mercy of the army and scientists roaming the neighbourhood looking for the infected.
"Right at Your Door" is a very intense movie with brilliant performances from Rory Cochrane and Mary McCormack. Many people have discredited the film saying that it becomes boring and monotonous during the last forty minutes or so but I found it to be very engrossing and nerve-wrecking all through and never found it to be boring. That being said, it's not something I'd watch again. Intense and very interesting, it's worth checking out at least once.
I often wondered what happened to the kid in "Empire Records" who blew the register money in Atlantic City, well turns out he's in low budget flicks and doing a damn good job at it. He manages to eek out that careful balance of caring for his wife while simultaneously secretly caring about his own life slightly more.
The beginning is tense and fast paced, but is quite misleading as the middle begins to get slow until it almost stops and so slow indeed that you expect a death scene to come soon. Instead, another bit of thrill is injected, which steadily rises to the twist conclusion.
The photography could have been a hell of a lot better, and the handheld technique didn't have to be so obvious. If the production could afford all that plastic and masking tape, it could have afforded some steadicam attachments. The deadly toxic ash and the quarantined neighborhood are nicely done though. The one weakness is that in the beginning when the main character is trying to reach his wife, the streets are quite bare and not littered with panic, which is the main tell that this is a low budget venture. Some may criticize the art direction on the primary set, but I think it is done incredibly well because it uses the same materials that a real person forced to improvise would use.
The film tries to tug at many emotional heartstrings, and it succeeds in the first reel in conveying the panic and then the dilemma, but it never drives home the worry of contamination and death. Despite the lack of overall terror (especially when compared to a film like Threads), I like the ending and thus give this an additional half star.
Perhaps I'm the only one who approached Right at Your Door from this angle...at least, after the fact. The movie is a tense and involving thriller that has two great lead performances on characters that probably weren't interesting enough to deserve them. They're not the cause of the movie's eventual unraveling, so much as the shitty twist ending, the order du jour for young film-makers be they Hollywoodian or otherwise. It is really a shame that Right at Your Door was not brought to a simpler close.
I hope this brings Chris Gorak success in the future. He's a pretty damn decent writer and director, and has a great eye behind the camera. (This movie won Best Cinematography at Sundance, for good reason - toxin-covered Los Angeles never looked so beautiful.) As many directorial debuts are, this is a flawed work, but also highly watchable. Give it a shot.
[font=Century Gothic]...and then the Mrs. returns.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Right at Your Door" is a taut, often frightening movie that does get bogged down in spots. While it may seem stagy, it is filmed effectively with a handheld camera to simulate claustrophobia, showing what can be accomplished on a limited budget.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The movie's best accomplishment is in bringing a terrorist attack down to a personal level, telling the story almost exclusively from Brad's point of view. In doing this, it asks some very tough questions of us all. Are there are any right or wrong choices to make under these circumstances, with panic and sentiment weighing equally on one's mind? I think all one can do is to hope our government does know what it is doing...[/font]
A series of "dirty bombs" go off in LA and suddenly common sense and logic are forgotten as people either cry, swear or shout a lot. It doesn't get interesting until the twist and even that's nothing special. Batman Begins had a far better twist, I still can't believe Bruce Wayne was secretly Batman.
With a story like this one we think huge effects and explosions of Michael Bay like proportions but what you get is one couple's perspective from a very huge and catastrophic event. Which is a welcome change of pace, to effects-driven disaster movies that have lots of action and no story, or character development, quite the opposite for Right at Your Door which is a very well written character study about how both the love of his wife, and survival instincts conflict inside a man's head sending him on an emotional roller coaster as he believes he is watching the woman he loves die right before his eyes.
The twist ending was unable to save the film from being yet another example of a good idea let down by a poorly constructed script.
Watch it at your own risk.