Interesting. Only 1 pro critic review on Rotten Tomatoes so no critic score given (the one was "fresh"). But...IMDB and RT audience reviews were less than 50%.
So, another movie with perhaps technical flaws (one person criticized the acting) that I quite enjoyed.
REMOVAL (2010) follows the story of Cole, a man with a mental condition that gives him hallucinations, as he works a second shift (at night) in his menial floor cleaning job.
Some Backstory: Cole's condition was worsened after witnessing the suicide of a friend (who had also just killed his family), which led to his voluntary commitment. Following his release, against the advice of his doctors, his wife requested separation. The main story picks up 1 year after these events.
Cole is tasked with cleaning the very large mansion of a rich, arrogant dude used to getting his way. Throughout the second act, we are led down the path of Cole believing Henry killed his wife, but we wonder what is 'real' and what is Cole's hallucination.
With the kind of twists M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could write, REMOVAL is engaging to the very last frame.
The story unfolds crisply with solid pacing to fit sufficient "thriller" genre plot elements into the 91 minute running time. It's never "slow" for more than a very short sequence, and those only to show Cole's "tedium" and "fatigue."
The acting, as mentioned above, gives some viewers pause. I guess this is one of those things that mostly separates badmovies.org members from 'mainstream' movie audiences....details like this don't HAVE to take away from the enjoyment of a movie. The rich dude Henry is played by screenplay co-writer Oz Perkins, and another co-writer is director Nick Simon, so this is one of "those" films.
Interestingly, Cole's friend that commits the murder-suicide at the beginning, is played by Billy Burke, Bella's Dad from the "beloved" TWILIGHT movies. Cole is played by Mark Kelly (who has numerous TV and a handful of movie credits). Anya from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Emma Caulfield, is also a recognizable name and Elliot Gould plays a bit part as one of Cole's doctors.
The strength of REMOVAL is not the acting, visual fx or production "flashiness," but rather a simple story that is engaging and fulfills the role of "thriller." It's low budget film making at a high level achieved by a very solid screenplay that is very tight in what it wants to do. Most of the movie plays out in a single night, there are no subplots to distract and Cole's arc is very obviously the focus of this 91 minutes.
I wish more "mainstream" movies were this focused.
I go 3.5+ out of 5 on this one. It's not QUITE to the level of 'great' that 4 requires, but a regular 3.5 seems a bit low. Since I cannot give fractional stars on Netflix, though, I will give it 4 stars there.
I recommend REMOVAL for low budget fans that want a story driven "thriller" made outside the boring hollyweird mold.