It’s hard to praise a film about what is — or certainly appears to be — a hotel clerk who has planted tiny WiFi cameras in rooms to watch guests doing the nasty as well as mundane things. There is that instant “ewehhh” reaction to seeing the young clerk with multiple views in a room watching a couple have sex. And wasting no time, that sex scene turns to a murder scene. In the tradition of a classic like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, the clerk sees a little too much.
At this point, we also learn that the clerk is a bit off. He has a form of autism and has problems communicating with people. He lives at home with his mom, hides his surveillance activity and we learn that he spends his time sitting watching people talk normal to learn how to do that too. Okay, a big leap of faith and a stretch here. He could also watch any old movie or TV show if that was all he wanted. None of us want to check into a hotel to be watched by the night clerk or anybody else so he obviously has more than communication problems. Technically, he’s unwitting perv, and witnessing a murder between a man and woman doesn’t stop him.
He gets transferred to a different branch of the hotel chain and starts setting up cameras again. This time he has a new guest who is very attractive — and very friendly. She very quickly begins interacting with him, and we wonder why. The woman, played by the hot as can be Ana de Armas, seems drawn to this awkward loser outcast and befriends him to the point of letting him know she’s out for a nude swim and wants a little cuddle. She says she had a brother who had the same illness and had died, hence the sympathetic attraction.
If only real hotties like that were so kind. They are the Unicorns and of course those don’t exist. I’d abandone everything and work for minimum wage as a hotel clerk if Ana de Armas came in and threw herself at me. As you can probably figure out, it’s really not that simple. Remember that murder at the beginning? Well, the murderer does and knows the clerk does too. Now, all the pieces come together and very much like a Hitchcock movie full of illusions, perceptions and betrayals all line up to create an excellent suspense thriller when one wasn’t expecting one. He still is a perv, but sadly not a bad person. He becomes a victim of his own problem and the way the story comes together is very effective.
All of the acting is fantastic, and it has all the traits of a very low budget indie movie. There in the middle of it is de Armas playing in a very small non-starter indie. Between superstar roles in Knives Out and as the next Bond girl, she adds the magic sauce to this interesting little film. Really good actors will mix big and little films. To-date, she’s been pure magic in every film she’s been in, and this film is no exception. She rips the hotel clerk up like the cheap carpet in the rooms. Put it all together and you have a strange, but fascinating, movie that shows a disabled person gone way astray and what can happen to the lost and lonely.
Bravo to this brave film that shows this story from as many views as the night clerk has hidden cameras in the rooms — and In his mind.