‘Close’: Noomi Rapace Is a Killer Bodyguard in Visceral Thriller
This violent thriller proves that Noomi Rapace is a bonafide action star.
She’s known as the ORIGINAL Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a franchise that spawn two sequels and a cult following/ Noomi Rapace is at it agaon…
Vicky Jewson’s “Close” aspires to be something of a female riff of maybe Lorraine Broughton.
Shot in 29 days — on a fraction of the budget for an average Hollywood blockbuster — it feels more like a proof-of-concept for an idea that the film industry has already proven (e.g. “Atomic Blonde” “Salt,” “Tomb Raider,” “Haywire,” etc), and a dull reminder that studios need to invest more of their resources into it.
The film doesn’t have to justify casting a lead who isn’t named Carlize, Chris or Matt insuring that this cut-rate thriller should be enough to silence anyone who still doubts that Noomi Rapace deserves her own action franchise, as the film revels in the strong-jawed Swede’s rare ability to alchemize Lisbeth Salander’s hardness with Jason Statham’s appetite for destruction.
Rapace plays Sam, who was supposedly inspired by “the world’s leading female bodyguard,” Jacquie Davis.
The job is simple enough: Sam is supposed to escort Zoe to her family’s massive fortress in the Atlas mountains of Morocco, ensuring the girl’s safety while her mother-in-law (the always-great Indira Varma) finalizes the massive sale that obviously has something to do with the chaos that comes next. Almost.
“Close” is the kind of grounded, back-to-basics action movie that feels like a breath of fresh air at a time when the genre is being suffocated by CGI-driven spectacles.
A killer example of her high-concept, low-cost imagination: Zoe’s safe house has a ballistic weapons system built into the walls, so that a dozen shotguns can automatically blasts the bad guys as they run down the hallway. Later, Sam fights a goon in a giant aquarium as schools of fish swirl around them. The indomitable Rapace — who broke her nose during the production — is up to every challenge Jewson throws at her. The more bruised beaten and beaten down she gets, the easier she is to believe. It’s the mark of a true action star.
Rapace is convincing enough to sell us on the idea that Sam is running from something real; that she’s chosen an isolated walk of life because she can’t afford to stand still, or even slow down for long enough to think about what she’s left behind. There are hints that she’s lost a daughter somewhere along the way.
Both women more than hold their own, making a believable transition from party girl (and low-key hacker?) to masked avenger.