Parents' Guide to

The Penthouse

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Some violence, language, drinking in clunky thriller.

Movie R 2021 88 minutes
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This is a thriller marred by clunky direction and storytelling. The Penthouse is a movie about a guy who spies on a man and woman in a houseboat from the patio of his top-floor luxury living space, and gets a lot more than he ever bargained for. While Michael Pare does bring an element of creepy nastiness to his character, with a hint of violence always on the verge of exploding, the rest of the acting is amateur hour at best. In terms of the story, if you happen to step away for two minutes and worry that you might have missed something, don't worry, because the lead characters make a point to explain what they just experienced to either each other or their friends, often over wine. The premise is stretched to the point of absurdity, and the overreliance on drone camera shots of the North Carolina island where this movie is set starts to seem like they take up at least a third of the movie.

Rear Window, it's not. Despite Pare's character being a total jerk, he can't be blamed for believing that Peter's spying is more than a little intrusive and creepy. And when Peter tells Charles that he's been observing him from his penthouse patio as if it's something interesting and maybe a little quirky, it really makes no sense. Peter's spying doesn't really make any sense. He doesn't seem that bored. He's not confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg. It's all part of the clunkiness, an attempt at a slow build-up of tension that doesn't really build up, unless one is interested in seeing a surf shop opening up for business on a random weekday morning, or what the paperwork is like if you own a marina.

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