A chance opportunity arises for Robert Atkinson, a London banker who risks his bank's money to leave the mundane behind and start a new life. To take advantage, he unwittingly signs up with a Chinese cartel to transport a briefcase to Amsterdam. But all is not as it seems in a city veiled by dark secrets. Fuelled by power players, drugs, seduction and violence, Robert awaits his turn in a deadly game of choice and consequence.
[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.]
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performed by Ruby Turner
co-written by Ruby Turner and Wan Pin Chu
music composed and Erhu Performance by Wan Pin Chu
Courtesy of Pearl Pictures Productions See more »
The Host welcomes you in but has a nasty surprise waiting for you
The Host is the name of a couple of different films, so when I got the chance to watch this one, I wasn't sure if it was a remake of some kind or an entirely original flick. Turns out it's neither. The Host, directed by Andy Newberry, borrows from some of the most iconic films in the mystery/thriller category and creates an intriguing modern tale of misadventure and murder.
I admit, I was sceptical when I saw Dougie from McFly in the trailer, but it turns out he's one of the best parts of The Host. Dougie plays Steve Atkinson, the younger brother of Robert - also Atkinson. Robert is a serial f*#k up, who just can't seem to catch a break. And following a string of consecutive missteps, Robert finds himself forced to run an errand to Amsterdam for a Chinese Mafia boss. And it quickly becomes apparent that this might not go so smoothly for him.
On arrival to his international destination, Robert finds his hotel is double booked. Of course it is. He's then ushered into another movie as the hotel owner suggests he can stay at another place he knows. Turns out it's the Town House home of "creepy-hot" Vera Tribbe (Maryam Hassouni).
Despite being a member of one of the most powerful families in Amsterdam, Vera lives with her "sick" Father as a recluse. To all intents and purposes, Vera inhabits and maintains the huge place all by herself. The sequences shot of her townhouse are some of the most cinematic and attractive moments of The Host. And as the film shifts gears it's easy to forget its opening premise. As it morphs into an eerie thriller, The Host flirts with greatness, and I found myself willing it deliver. Unfortunately it resisted my pleas. Before I get into the verdict, I want to make it clear, I enjoyed this film. But it frustrated me. It doesn't fully commit to any of the moments that it dips into. If it did, it could have made this film a breakout success.
The Host - Verdict
So how do we rate it? Given the frustrations, The Host is actually an entertaining film if you can forgive its obvious flaws. Not everything you watch needs to be Sixth Sense or The Shining. Some films are just neatly self-contained stories that don't need a sequel and don't need to leave a big impact. The Host is that.
I didn't like Robert, the film's protagonist, not at all. But I found myself invested in the other characters, even the Chinese gangsters. And I wanted to know how its oddball twists would be concluded. The Host is a perfect film for an evening in, and we have a lot of those right now. It's meandering and mysterious and surprisingly watchable. I just wish it hit went for it in the parts that mattered. The Host doesn't give you the most, but it's glad you came and wants to freak you out!
Rating 6.5 out of 10
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