Review by Dan Skip Allen
Don't let the title deceive you, Every Breath You Take is not a film about Sting or The Police, but a psychological thriller. This film has an atmosphere of a great thriller and the title represents the feeling of the film.
In the film, Casey Affleck plays a psychologist who believes he has made a breakthrough with a patient until she commits suicide. This tragic event affects his family and his professional life. When the patient's brother (Sam Claflin) comes into the picture it could have irrevocably changed his relationship with his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and his daughter (India Eisley) for the worse.
The film is made from a screenplay by David Murray and directed by Vaughn Stein, a director who isn't that well known. He has been an assistant director for some bigger films. His directorial career includes Terminal starring Margot Robbie and Inheritance starring Lily Collins and Simon Pegg. Every Breath You Take is the best thing he's directed thus far in his career.
Murray, Stein, and company lead the viewer down a path that is slow and methodical. When it picks up speed it doesn't stop. The tension that they build is palpable. They build the story and characters up very effectively. The various scenes that come in the second half of the film are those we dread because they are given credibility by what has come before in the film. They build the suspense perfectly. The twists and turns aren't seen coming at any distance.
With the moody storyline also comes a moody setting. The film is set in the cold climate of Portland which is a stand-in for Vancouver, British Columbia. This setting adds to the darker nature of the film. Cinematographer Michael Merriman uses the cold and dank surroundings to his advantage. This atmosphere is a beautiful setting for a film such as this. It's a rare talent for the cinematography to match the overall feel of the film. This does for sure.
Sam Claflin has been known as a heartthrob in his career. He has played love interests in a few films including the Hunger Games series and Me Before You. Casting him in Every Breath You Take is an act of pure genius from both himself and the filmmakers. He goes the distance to make his character charming and likable while also being conniving and vindictive at the same time. This is a brilliant turn for him in his career.
Every Breath You Take brings the viewer down a path slowly and mathematically. Once it gets to its destination it's very rewarding and satisfying. The cast is all superb, but the standout is Sam Claflin. He gives the performance of his career as this grieving brother with a dark side. He hides a lot of his character's secrets in his performance which is masterful. The script by Murray also allowed for such a great turn by Claflin and company. This is the best thriller of 2021 so far.
Every Breath You Take hits VOD on April 2.