Browse isn’t a very compelling or competent thriller. It starts off somewhat quirky and just plummets from there to a time vacuum that feels far longer than its brief 85-minute runtime.
Richard (Lucas Haas, Inception) is having a pretty pedestrian life. He’s got a jerk supervisor and keeps his rental furniture wrapped in plastic. And he’s still somewhat pining after his ex-wife (Jocelin Donahue) after a breakup.
In one of his random online dating encounters, he chats with a gorgeous woman who happens to live across from his apartment complex. Not long after, things start happening like his bank account getting overdrawn, his bills stop getting paid and his sex tape gets leaked.
Who could be behind Richard’s life spiraling out so spectacularly? What person did he annoy so much to want to destroy every aspect of his sanity including delivering a gun to his place? Will any of those questions get resolved by the end of the film?
In short, that’s Browse’s biggest problem. Screenwriter Mario Carvalhal has no problem coming up with a potentially intriguing setup, but loses interest in paying anything off.
Whether it’s the seemingly shady tech guy who is messing around on Richard’s computer, the quiet office observer, any details on the end of his marriage or why he now has a restraining order filed against him. These are plot points and questions that actually need answers and blowing them off doesn’t make for an interesting film, but more one that feels hopelessly incomplete.
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Director Mike Testin seems to use the film as an excuse to try out some various film making techniques with little regard for structure or flow within this movie. There’s some nice shots throughout although their disconnected measure doesn’t make for much of a comprehensive narrative.
Haas is a decent actor, but this isn’t the best showcase. Richard is a very dry and uninteresting character, which makes it hard to care about all of his misfortunes. At times it feels like Haas just goes off to do something interesting to keep from getting bored regardless if it makes sense within the context of the film. Too many scenes play out where very little happens and even less connects with it doesn’t feel like there’s a point to anything.
Richard’s apartment complex pal is the overly chatty apartment manager Kyle (Bodhi Elfmna). Kyle is meant to be the film’s comic relief, but he’s an insufferable idiot. It also seems like Richard has a mutual interest in his co-worker, Claire (Sarah Rafferty, Suits), but it’s a weird dynamic culminating in her bringing over a bird to help keep him company.
There’s definitely the sense that Testin is deliberately holding vital information back. Even worse, by the midway point it seems clear that Richard is not completely a victim in everything. Thanks to the tedious pace Richard doesn’t make for the most sympathetic or even likable character.
The smooth jazzy score really clashes with the tone. Most of the score sounds like it would work better with Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean Eleven trilogy than a dark thriller. It’s too peppy and upbeat making for a very bizarre choice for a thriller.
Browse feels like glimpsing through a problematic story with little context as to why you should care let alone watch it.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Photo Credit: FilmRise