Movie Reviews

Reptile Review: A Twisted Tale of Deception and Discovery

.sadopjpasdmksladnklsandlksadsaipdjhpsiajdpksampdjsajdpoajsdjjjjReptile, directed by Grant Singer in his feature-film directorial debut. The movie offers an intriguing premise with an extremely talented cast, including Benicio del Toro, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Silverstone, Eric Bogosian, and Ato Essandoh. With a screenplay co-written by Singer, Benjamin Brewer, and Benicio del Toro, and a story co-crafted by Singer and Brewer, Reptile promised to be a dark and gripping thriller. However, as the credits rolled, I couldn’t help but feel that the film fell short of its potential. Reptile delivers a narrative that was at times convoluted and lacked the emotional depth it desperately needed.

The Good:

Reptile (2023).

Reptile opens with the brutal murder of a young real estate agent. This heinous act sets the stage for what should be a gripping noir thriller. Benicio del Toro stars as Detective Tom Nichols, the lead investigator tasked with unraveling the layers of deception surrounding the case. Del Toro’s portrayal of Nichols is one of the film’s strengths. His weathered, world-weary demeanor, coupled with a relentless determination to uncover the truth, adds depth to his character.

Justin Timberlake plays Will Grady, the victim’s boyfriend, and his performance is one of the film’s weaker points. Timberlake struggles to convey the necessary emotional range for his character, leaving the audience disconnected from his plight. Alicia Silverstone, as Judy Nichols, Tom’s wife, adds a sense of domestic tension to the film. The problem is that her character is seriously underutilized, and her chemistry with Del Toro is never fully explored.

Eric Bogosian as Captain Robert Allen, Nichols’s boss, brings a commanding presence to his role, effectively portraying the bureaucratic pressure that often hinders investigations. Ato Essandoh as Detective Dan Cleary, Tom’s partner, delivers a solid performance, but his character’s development is stunted by the film’s convoluted narrative.

The Bad:

Reptile (2023).

The film’s plot is where Reptile starts to unravel. While it promises a gritty and complex mystery, it often meanders through a convoluted narrative that struggles to maintain a coherent thread. The screenplay seems to prioritize style over substance, resulting in a disjointed storytelling experience. The film tries to be clever by interweaving multiple timelines and perspectives, but this approach often leaves the audience feeling disoriented and disconnected from the characters.

Grant Singer’s direction, while visually striking at times, lacks the finesse needed to guide the audience through the labyrinthine plot. The film’s cinematography, courtesy of Mike Gioulakis, is a standout element, with moody lighting and visually arresting compositions. However, the striking visuals can only carry the film so far when the storytelling falters.

One of the film’s major flaws is its inability to establish a clear emotional connection with the audience. While Detective Tom Nichols is a compelling character, his personal journey is overshadowed by the convoluted narrative. The film hints at the dismantling of illusions in Nichols’s life. It hints at them but it fails to fully explore this theme in a meaningful way. As a result, the emotional impact of the film is limited, and the audience is left wanting more depth from the characters.

Additionally, Reptile struggles with pacing issues. The film moves at a slow and deliberate pace. This pacing can work in a noir thriller if it is used to build tension and suspense. However, in this case, the slow pace often feels plodding and frustrating, with the narrative dragging in places where it should be accelerating.

The film’s climax attempts to tie together the various narrative threads. The issue is that it does so in a way that feels rushed and unsatisfying. It leaves too many loose ends and unanswered questions, which may leave some viewers feeling unsatisfied and confused. The resolution lacks the emotional resonance that should accompany the conclusion of a character-driven thriller.

In terms of its technical aspects, Reptile excels in some areas but falters in others. The film’s sound design and score create an eerie atmosphere that enhances the sense of unease. However, the editing can be jarring, with abrupt transitions between different timelines that disrupt the flow of the narrative.


Reptile had the potential to be a gripping and thought-provoking noir thriller, thanks to its talented cast and promising premise. Unfortunately, the film is hindered by a convoluted and disjointed narrative, underdeveloped characters, and pacing issues. While Benicio del Toro delivers a strong performance as Detective Tom Nichols, it’s not enough to salvage a film that falls short. Reptile ultimately leaves the audience feeling disconnected and unsatisfied, making it a missed opportunity for a genre that thrives on tension, mystery, and emotional depth. Grant Singer’s directorial debut shows promise, but it ultimately needs a tighter script and more coherent storytelling to truly captivate its audience.

Reptile Review: A Twisted Tale of Deception and Discovery
  • Acting - 6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4/10
  • Setting/Theme - 5/10
  • Watchability - 5/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
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