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film review

Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert in Greta.Jonathan Hession/Focus Features

Greta

Directed by: Neil Jordan

Written by: Neil Jordan and Ray Wright

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert

Classification: R; 98 minutes

Rating:

1.5 out of 4 stars

There is no one clear moment where the exceedingly messy Greta turns from being a ho-hum stalker movie into full-blooded wack-a-doo thriller. And maybe that’s the point director Neil Jordan is trying to make: that everyday reality can often swerve in maniacal directions at a moment’s notice. More likely, though, the only lesson of Greta is that sometimes, movies need to make up their minds.

From his opening minutes through his twisty finish, Jordan (The Crying Game) seems permanently confused as to what kind of movie he is making, the only consistencies being its ultra-cheap production values (one particular shot of a Toronto subway station standing in for New York is used so many times that it almost approaches self-parody; not quite, but almost) and Chloe Grace Moretz’s dreadful performance as the object of a stalker’s affection. The fact that said stalker is played by international icon Isabelle Huppert will automatically convince some of the actress’s superfans that Greta is an instant cult classic (I’m already envisioning the tweets: “Slay me Huppert” and “Greta slaps” -- listen, I don’t dictate Twitter’s vernacular, I just sift through it.) But there is no mistaking Greta’s actual cinematic bona fides, because there aren’t any.

I’ll cop to chuckling at the scene toward the end where Huppert’s villain self-administers a painkiller to her severed finger in the most nonchalant of ways, but it’s unclear what Jordan actually wants from his character, or anyone else. For a film that is just over 90 minutes, the narrative stretches out for a deathly middle act, with Jordan even recruiting his old Crying Game star Stephen Rea into the shenanigans (don’t worry: Rea acquits himself fine, and makes a swift exit, seemingly as wary of the film as everyone else should be). But Greta does contain the line, “This is the bed of lies!” So that’s something.

Greta opens Feb. 28