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Westside Steve

Greta review

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R.       98 min

Okay gang I’m going to beer off the mainstream highway here. There really isn’t much going on right now as far as new releases but I’m rolling the dice on this one. Why? Hard to say. It’s an Irish-US production and was directed by Neil Jordan, THE CRYING GAME guy, which took eccentric to a new level. Focus Films are known for putting out some decidedly left of center films and this one is no exception. I’m going to issue a spoiler alert just because I really like this film and I want you to be surprised like I was. It’s in the major theaters now so it shouldn’t be a problem, you can read my review later then let me know what you think.
Even though they said this was an Irish/US production there doesn’t seem to be much Irish about it. Though a great deal of it was filmed in Dublin, it’s set in New York City and the protagonist and her friends and associates are Yanks. As a matter of fact only the antagonist, Greta, (Isabelle Huppert) is of foreign descent, but that’s part of the story. Stephen Rea is an Irish actor but he plays his small part without the accent.  
Francis Chloe Grace Moretz is it young working girl ( a waitress not a hooker) in the city dealing with the loss of her mother at her dad’s apparent ability to move on. One day on the subway, she discovers that someone has left her purse behind. She decides to do the right thing and take the purse and it's contents to the woman whose ID was inside. That’s where she meets Greta, a slightly eccentric French woman with a passion for classical music. She’s obviously lonely and tells Francis stories about her beloved daughter who she loves and misses you dearly. The older woman becomes sort of a surrogate mother figure until Francis discovers something very disturbing and decides to cut off the relationship abruptly. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Greta starts to stalk and harass the young woman. To make matters worse the Manhattan police are too busy to care. As the story goes along the situation gets increasingly worse and more gruesome. The suspense is subdued but gripping and never slows down as things spiral out of control.
Just before the end I begin to suspect that Neil Jordan had a FUNNY GAMES card up his sleeve.  I hated the ending of that one so badly I wanted to punch director Michael Haneke right in the face. 
But… Well even though I gave you a spoiler warning I don’t trust you so I won’t tell you what happens. Suspenseful with very little violence and frightening with almost no blood this will be a pleasant surprise for anyone who values psychological thrillers. Huppert is rivetingly creepy, a lot scarier than she should be for a slight middle-aged woman.
I finished the review and check the other critics and apparently there are some dissenting opinions. But I really liked it.

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