Plot – A voyeuristic hotel clerk becomes the subject of a murder investigation – The Night Clerk.
Director – Michael Cristofer
Released – 2020
I came across this film buried away in the thriller section on a streaming service, which usually means it’s best to approach the film with caution. But unexpectedly, The Night Clerk turned out to be a fascinating little movie with an absorbing story and some powerful performances packed with complex emotions.
But for me, the film’s primary strength was how the filmmakers successfully explored the subject of Asperger syndrome. Something that films have repeatedly shown poorly over the years, often to the point of mockery, but here it used extremely sympathetically. Even though most of the characters’ actions were morally dubious.
There were, however, some minor issues with the script, with some parts feeling overly simplified, while some sequences didn’t feel entirely needed and took away from the main storyline. This suggests to me that there were parts of the film that the makers wished to include but ended up being left on the cutting room floor or weren’t filmed.
In terms of the acting, the two leads were pulled off fantastic performances, respectively. Tye Sheridan as the socially awkward young man had the harder to the two jobs but convincingly played a man on the autism spectrum, while Ana de Armas convinced as the morally dubious Andrea.
For sure, The Night Clerk didn’t have the highest of budgets, nor is it a cinematic masterpiece, but it turned out to be a surprisingly gripping psychological thriller and thought-provoking throughout.