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PLOT: A seasoned bodyguard (Noomi Rapace) is hired to look after a spoiled rich kid (Sophie Nélisse) who’s just inherited millions of dollars’ worth of stock in her late father’s oil company.

REVIEW: CLOSE is one of the what seems like a dozen of original movies hitting Netflix this month, continuing their relationship with star Noomi Rapace, who fronted their delightfully silly WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY (known as SEVEN SISTERS in some territories – including Canada) and showed up in BRIGHT. She stars as Sam, a jaded bodyguard with a history who’s pulled back into the game against her better judgment to protect a bratty rich kid. Sounds familiar, right? It is.

Despite the main selling point, being that Rapace’s character is loosely based on Jacquie Davis, a real-life bodyguard who’s protected movie stars and politicians, CLOSE is fairly routine stuff. One wonders why the character was fictionalized at all, given that a recent write-up of her by the BBC contains more hair-raising episodes than anything on-screen here. Why didn’t they pull a real-life episode to make this a little more than a standard shoot-em-up, with a predictable outcome and precious little in the way of dynamic action?

Rapace is really the only reason to watch this, with her once again showing why she’s such a natural at badass roles, with her lithe physicality and ease with on-screen hand-to-hand combat. Too bad then that the action scenes are relatively messy in the low-budget CLOSE, with only one scrap, where she’s handcuffed and takes on a hulking opponent, really showing off her chops.

The story is ho-hum, with Sophie Nélisse playing the stereotypical American rich kid, who gets Rapace’s female bodyguard because she can’t stop seducing her male ones. When she goes to Morocco on a business trip with her step-mother (“Game of Thrones’’’ Indira Varma)- she’s all set to dismiss her killjoy guard, until kidnappers come knocking. After she accidentally kills a cop on the take, Nélisse finds herself on the run, and natch, her steely bodyguard is her only hope.

The other thing, for me, that really worked in the story is that as the film goes on, Rapace’s Sam maintains a cool aloofness. She doesn’t particularly like Nélisse’s character (until an unnecessary bit of exposition involving a child in Rapace’s past tries to warm things up between them), but as she’s a pro, she’ll do what she had to do to keep her alive. Again, this is all Rapace, who is shackled by a mediocre script and direction that feels stilted. Part of this may be due to the fact that it seems to have been a relatively modest production for an action-adventure film, although that doesn’t explain why the premise has to be so cliché considering the treasure trove of stories Davis is likely walking around with.

In the end, CLOSE is a pretty run of the mill low-budget action-thriller that could have used a faster-pace and better action to liven things up a bit (as well as some semblance of a sense-of-humor – there’s no reason this had to be so grim). It’s not terrible, but considering they had such a solid lead in Rapace, it should have been better.

Source: JoBlo.com

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