With spooky, minimalist interiors, creepy crescendo music and a bluish gray palette, “Every Breath You Take” predictably promises to be a thriller. Directed by Vaughn Stein and written by David K. Murray, the film rubs shoulders with so many tropes that you almost expect it to subvert them, but the plot remains just as predictable.
At a lecture, renowned psychiatrist Dr Philip Clark (Casey Affleck) brags about his ethically ambiguous method of therapy – which involves sharing one’s own deep secrets with patients – who has kept one of them them, the suicidal Daphne (Emily Alyn Lind), stable and without drugs. Later that night, she commits suicide.
At the scene, Dr. Clark meets Daphne’s distraught brother, (Sam Claflin). James later wins an invitation to dinner at the Clarks and ends up winning Philip’s wife, Grace (Michelle Monaghan), and daughter, Lucy (India Eisley), with his charming English accent, dimpled smile and demeanor. injured puppy. James becomes a dangerous new presence in their lives. Claflin elevates the quality of the formula by playfully oscillating between charismatic and psychotic as he delves deeper into the lives of the Clark women, and therefore into Philip’s psyche.
At the same time, Philip’s reputation is shaved by anonymous letters, although he claims not to know who is behind them. All of the characters become shockingly dense pawns, with women mostly getting caught in crosshairs. Monaghan’s character, in particular, is undermined. The film opens with its own tragedy – the death of her son in a car crash – a development that returns briefly and insignificantly. With only a few fleeting moments of thrills, “Every Breath You Take” remains rather lukewarm and frustrating.
Rated R for the ravages of Sam Claflin. Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Every Breath You Take
Classified R. Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes. In select theaters and on Google Play, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.