OK, the film might not quite say that – but Antoinette Beumer’s thriller “Loft”, the remake of a Belgian original based on Bart De Pauw’s screenplay, comes pretty close to telling us that extramarital affairs are harmful to people’s well-being.
Five close friends, two of whom half-brothers – Bart (Fedja van Huêt) and Tom (Chico Kenzari), decide to share a property designed by the architect among them, Matthias (Barry Atsma). Nicknamed the “Loft”, the friends – all married, make a gentlemen’s pact of not disclosing its whereabouts to their respective spouses, and use it exclusively to conduct their extramarital affairs.
The film begins with discovery of the body of a dead woman at the Loft, leading to a series of police interviews with the five. She was Sarah Lunter (Sallie Harmsen), one of Matthias’ conquests. An initial suicide scene will soon turn into a murder investigation, and the finger of suspicion will point towards Matthias, after it’s revealed that he was there with her the night before. But he resolutely claims that he’s innocent, and in return suggests that someone is trying to frame him – according to his account, she was alive albeit slightly upset when he left her there, after he’d ended their affair that night. But there are only five copies of the key to the property – each of the friends holding one, and it doesn’t appear that the place has been broken in either. Therefore, if Matthias is indeed being framed, it must be through one or more of his friends. But why would anyone kill an innocent woman in order to settle a score with Matthias – after all, he doesn’t even love her…
The classic whodunnit adds twists, and further twists in its tail through assorted flashbacks and revelations, and the obligatory red herrings. The only thing missing, however, is a likeable (i.e., well-developed) character to care about – we don’t get around to knowing them well enough, except, perhaps the girl who’s already dead. But whether or not justice is served, I liked the concept behind the ending – it could perhaps have been a bit more naughtier, with a sting to the twisted tail. I’d like to see what the Americans do with it though – true, there’s a US remake on its way, but more importantly I’d like to see the original version, to see how much better or worse the Dutch one turned out. It’s nevertheless an interesting plot that’s Recommended Viewing..!
The Nudity: Anna Drijver, Barry Atsma, Sallie Harmsen, Esmee Van Kampen, and Charlie Chan Dagelet
There’s need for a degree of nudity with such a racy storyline, but it is surprisingly circumspect in the film. Nude appearances are credited to Anna Drijver who plays prostitute Ann Marai, instructed to have a fling with Bart, Barry Atsma – as the womanising Matthias, Sallie Harmsen who plays the victim Sarah Lunter, and Esmee Van Kampen as her fat friend Anja. Charlie Chan Dagelet also briefly appears nude playing Tom’s baby-sister Linda, whose cherry gets picked by Matthias.