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Film Review: Superlative ‘The Guest’ Returns a Soldier to Our Times

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – The essential killing machine to protect the Homeland hasn’t been invented yet. Or has it? Filmmakers Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett combine “The Terminator” with a perfect metaphor for perpetual war in a new release, “The Guest.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

British actor Dan Stevens plays a gee-whiz returning soldier from the Iraq conflict, dropping in on the household of a dead comrade. Director Wingard and screenwriter Barrett fashion a narrative in which the “guest” becomes a protector, offering solutions to the family’s problems. The packaging of the story is a slick reminder of James Cameron’s “The Terminator” and the Frankenstein myth, paired with a poignant metaphor for the break-it-bought-it mentality of America’s current Middle East circumstances. What seems like the guest’s “solutions” only generates more chaos, which is familiar in this week’s headlines. There are no solutions in fighting this war, only consequences.

David (Dan Stevens) is an Iraq War veteran who takes it upon himself to become the “guest” of his dead platoon mate’s family. Mother Laura (Sheila Kelley) is most accepting, but eventually David ingratiates himself within the entire household, which includes father Spencer (Leland Orser), brother Luke (Brendan Meyer) older sister Anna (Maika Monroe).

There is something odd about the veteran, and Anna notices it first. With a little digging, his service is not traceable. It turns out David is part of a conditioning experiment from the defense industry, and is programmed to protect and serve. He takes it to the extreme with his adopted family, and his actions produce consequences for the family and their community.

“The Guest” opens everywhere on September 17th. Featuring Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Brendan Meyer and Lance Reddick. Written by Simon Barrett. Directed by Adam Wingard. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Guest”

Dan Stevens
David (Dan Stevens) Takes Aim in ‘The Guest’
Photo credit: Picturehouse

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Guest”

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