Hey gang, Valkor here. If anyone were to ever ask me who is my favorite actor that shows the most range, it’d go out to one of my favorites – Michael Keaton. I grew up laughing at his comedies such as Mr. Mom and Johnny Dangerously. But then I grew fearful of his dark side in Pacific Heights. The dude went chilled all of the naysayers who thought he couldn't play the role of Batman, and while I thought the Robocop reboot was dry, he still did his best as douchy CEO Raymond Sellars. And if watching this guy own multiple roles has taught me anything, it’s to never slouch on the skillz of a truly good actor no matter what film setting he (or she) me be in. Knowing this, I sorta went in with high expectations with his latest flick “Penthouse North”. Yup, he still has it!
Penthouse North focuses on Sara (Michelle Monaghan – Justice League: War), a former photographer who lost her sight while shooting a military excursion, ending with her having a run in with a suicide bomber and then… Boom! Fast-forward, she now lives in the penthouse of her boyfriend Ryan (Andrew Walker), who it turns out has a bit of a shady past that comes back to haunt them both. When Sara returns from a store run, she discovers Ryan dead on the floor and she winds up in the clutches of a sadistic killer named Chad (Barry Sloane), who is looking for something that Ryan took from him years ago. Sara is able to escape and believes she finds solace in the hands of Robert Shea aka Hollander (Keaton), who takes her back to her penthouse and drops that he’s in cahoots with Chad. And the two are determined to get back what Ryan took from them.
Things appear to be going smooth as the two are able to locate a bunch of money behind one of Sara’s blown up photos. And with that, they’re on their way… well, not exactly. They’re not done with Sara yet as it wasn’t the money they were looking for, but something else. And they mean to get it by any means necessary. But the big question is: Does Sara actually know where the hidden item is?
The answer may or may not surprise you – I was a surprised… a little. Also that building that Sara lives in must be abandoned because they made quite a ruckus and the only person to catch notice was the door man. Go fig.
“Penthouse North” will rank as one of the best, most intense thrillers, I’ve had the pleasure to watch in quite some time. The film contains high doses of suspense as Sara does her best to stay one step ahead of the killers. And just when you think she’s close to freedom, she’s snatched right back into their clutches. But the sheer brutality of how she’s handled will make you wince – damn does she take a beating. The story is rock solid, straightforward with a couple of twist though nothing extreme; but the ending works. And thanks to a short run time of 85 minutes and how well the film is paced, made Penthouse North that much easier to enjoy. It’s always a pleasure to watch Michael Keaton in anything, even the dryness that is the new Robocop film. Here you get a little taste of his “Bruce Wayne” with a nice mix of his “Carter Hayes” from “Pacific Heights – he’s twisted with a slight taste of humor tossed in. But big ups to Michelle Monaghan, whose voice-work I didn’t care much for in "Justice League: War", but here she puts in a lot of work acting her guts out as well as surviving getting tossed around like a rag doll. Now that’s dedication. Barry Sloane also deserves some credit whose Chad plays well against Keaton’s Hollander. Dude is also pretty brutal as he does most of the tossing of Sara. In the end, I got a kick out of Penthouse North and I’m glad to see Michael Keaton never lost his acting chops. The man is golden I tell ya! Golden!
It ain’t all good when it comes to this film. Its biggest misstep is that it’s predictable from the jump; as I followed along with the film, it almost hurt knowing what would happen before it happened and being right about it. But on the flipside, there's still enough that’ll keep you on edge until the ending.
I’m glad I had the pleasure of sitting through Penthouse North (aka Blindsided); sure it’s a predictable mess, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially when you have a solid story wrapped around an intense thriller that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. And out of TOV 5 stars I give Penthouse North a 4.