Benicio Del Toro slinks and weaves his way through “Reptile,” Grant Singer’s first thriller, but the picture finally falls apart because it is unable to establish a strong personality around him. “Reptile” is overly mannered and precious with its details, clearly influenced by David Fincher’s meticulousness (Singer, too, is a music video veteran and has worked with The Weeknd, Skrillex, Sam Smith, and many others), but its biggest error is its failure to comprehend that procedurals need to get narratively tighter and not just more convoluted. One frequently wishes that Del Toro’s performances were in films that knew what to do with them, even though this is one of his more intriguing ones in a long time and one of his best in general.
The suspects immediately form a line for Detective Tom Nichols and his partner, Ato Essandoh, Dan Cleary. First off, Timberlake leans far too heavily into Grady’s creepy silver spoon child past to make him seem like the kind of guy who almost instantly lines up a new girlfriend who resembles his deceased one. Will is obviously up to some sketchy business, but he discovered the body, right? But did he? Could that be Sam, the upcoming ex-husband of Summer, Karl Glusman? When he is first seen on CCTV cutting a stranger’s hair so he may use it as art, he is also depicted as being a few cards short of having a full deck. Yes, he is strange.
Not at all! Eli Phillips, Michael Pitt, and a man whose father lost money on a Grady deal are among the horde of creeps on the suspect list. Did he murder Summer to exact retribution?
Del Toro does an excellent job of portraying a man who has seen it all and who only seeks a tranquility that will never materialize. He doesn’t play up his pain or experience; rather, he merely lets those aspects affect his body language and the unmistakable looks in his eyes. It can also be humorous at times as Tom incorporates aspects of his real estate career into the remodeling of his home. Silverstone, Bogosian, and Pitt all make good turns in the ensemble, but Del Toro is in a league of his own and performs at a higher level. A scene that would fit much better in another film.
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