Wednesday, March 22, 2017

1 Night Movie Review

Minhal Baig's writing/directing debut, 1 Night, follows two couples at a Los Angeles hotel over the course of an evening. The first couple, played by Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect) as Elizabeth and Justin Chatwin (Doctor Who) as Drew, are a 30-something couple trying to rekindle that romantic spark before calling it a day on their marriage. The second couple, played by Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) as Bea and Kyle Allen (The Path) as Andy are old childhood friends brought back together through unfortunate circumstances on prom night. The couples occasionally cross paths and interact throughout the film.

Elizabeth and Drew are at the hotel desperately trying to salvage what's left of their marriage. The two actors are convincing and their dialogue only hints at the deep-seated issues they're facing as a couple. Unfortunately, the short run time of the film doesn't leave much space for character building, leaving the audience to try and fill in the gaps. Intriguing as the premise is and as hard as the actors work, it's hard to care whether or not they stay together. Camp and Chatwin give solid performances, but aren't given enough to build on.

Bea and Andy are childhood friends who've drifted as they made their way through high school. The two reconnect when Bea is dumped by her boyfriend on their prom night. The young couple wander the hotel and spend a lot of time getting to know each other again. Fuhrman and Allen are pitch perfect and are the more interesting of the two couples.

The film sets things up so we're to see Bea and Andy as the younger versions of Elizabeth and Drew at the very beginning of their relationship. It's an interesting twist that reminded me of another romance with a sci-fi bent; the 2001 film Happy Accidents by Brad Anderson. 1 Night definitely would have benefited from a bit more time to explore it's lofty ideas. At 80 minutes, it moves too fast and leaves us with too many questions to feel like a complete experience. That being said, there are some interesting things going on here and it will be interesting to see what Baig does next.

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