Movie Reviews
Strictly Confidential (2024).

Strictly Confidential Review: A Murky Mystery with Muddled Execution

Strictly Confidential arrives on the scene with the promise of thrilling twists, lush Caribbean locales, and a family riddled with secrets on the grim anniversary of a tragic suicide. Unfortunately, Damian Hurley‘s directorial debut, while ambitious, ends up a meandering mishmash of missed opportunities and underdeveloped intrigue that struggles to keep the viewer engaged.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7wm_g0icuw

The premise itself is not without potential: Mia, played by Georgia Lock, ventures to the Caribbean to commemorate her best friend’s death and finds herself amid a family teeming with secrets and deceit. As the narrative unfolds, Mia’s investigations into her friend’s mysterious death promise a journey filled with suspense and dark revelations. However, the execution leaves much to be desired. Despite the inviting setup, Strictly Confidential fails to capitalize on its intriguing foundation, instead meandering through a convoluted plot that often feels as lost as Mia in her quest for the truth.

Damian Hurley’s inexperience in the director’s chair is palpable throughout the film. Though there are glimpses of visual flair, particularly in the use of the vibrant Caribbean setting, these moments are few and far between. The pacing of the film is inconsistent, at times dragging its feet through seemingly irrelevant subplots before hurtling through key revelations with little care for coherence or impact. It’s a disservice to what could have been a tightly wound thriller, making it all the more frustrating to watch.

The script, also penned by Hurley, does no favors to its cast or audience. Dialogues often feel stilted and expository. They serve more as clumsy vehicles for plot advancement rather than genuine exchanges. These could’ve deepened character development or thematic exploration. It’s a shame, as the premise hints at complex family dynamics and the profound impacts of grief and guilt, themes that are unfortunately only ever touched upon superficially.

The ensemble cast, featuring Elizabeth Hurley as Lily, alongside Lock, Lauren McQueen as Rebecca, Freddie Thorp as James, and Genevieve Gaunt as Jemma, brings a degree of charisma and effort that occasionally breaks through the film’s lackluster script. Elizabeth Hurley, in particular, brings a necessary gravitas to her role, embodying the enigmatic matriarch with a performance that suggests deeper layers than the script affords. However, despite their best efforts, the performances can only do so much to elevate the material, often coming across as hamstrung by the direction and writing.

Character development suffers significantly throughout the narrative, a consequence of the film’s inability to balance its ensemble cast effectively. While Mia is ostensibly the protagonist, her character arc feels disjointed and lacking in depth. This makes it challenging to invest in her journey. The supporting characters fare no better. Revelations about their secrets and motivations are presented with little buildup or exploration, undermining any potential impact.

Visually, Strictly Confidential fails to fully leverage its Caribbean setting. This is an element that could have imbued the film with a distinct atmosphere and tone. Instead, the location feels like little more than a backdrop. This missed opportunity sums up much of the film’s approach. Instead of providing distinction and depth, they handled the elements with a disappointing lack of finesse or imagination.

In attempting to craft a thriller brimming with secrets and lies, Strictly Confidential stumbles over its narrative complexities. It delivers a final product that feels simultaneously overwrought and undercooked. The film fails to deliver on its potential for a compelling mystery set in a beautiful and tumultuous setting. It results in a confusing and disengaging experience for viewers.

Moreover, the film’s resolution, presumably intended as a shocking twist, lands with a thud. The underwhelming buildup and development that precede it hinder it. The film lacks suspense and fails to deliver dramatic revelations.

Overall:

Strictly Confidential serves as a cautionary tale of ambition overshadowed by execution. The film fails to deliver the thrills, drama, or emotional resonance that the premise promises. It’s a disappointing debut that will leave viewers, much like Mia, wondering what could have been.

Strictly Confidential Review: A Murky Mystery with Muddled Execution
  • Acting - 4/10
    4/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 3/10
    3/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 2/10
    2/10
  • Setting/Theme - 3/10
    3/10
  • Watchability - 3/10
    3/10
  • Rewatchability - 1/10
    1/10
Overall
2.7/10
2.7/10
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