by Landon Johnson 07 November, 2020
Sean Durkin’s The Nest is a slow burn of a story, rooted in shallowness that pushes through with a strong ensemble and thickening plot that serves as a reminder of an extremely valuable lesson.
Led by a canny and somewhat conniving Jude Law and clandestine Carrie Coon, The Nest takes us on a journey of a family’s downward spiral due to their father’s ruthless ambition, need for superficial success, and overall greed. A pretty relatable topic in a modern-day world that sensationalizes consumerism fueled by capitalism.
Rory (Law) is a tenacious businessman and former commodities broker, husband, and father in the 1980s. A time before major government financial regulation and when unbridled capitalism thrived -- and Rory is just one big opportunist waiting for the next get-rich-quick scheme.
Torn between being a family man and his aspirations of becoming the Wolf of Wall Street, he convinces his American wife, Allison (Coon), and their two children to leave the suburbs in America and return to England. Only things don’t exactly work out as he planned.
First of all, Rory moves the family into a dark, ominous, goliath of an estate that’s just “too big”, as Allison bluntly puts it. What becomes clear over clever dialogue is that Allision and the children don’t exactly see their new mansion through a rose-colored lens like their father. Over time, it becomes evident that Rory’s spectacular expectations don’t exactly align with reality.
Upon their return, Rory becomes more desperate to keep up the posh lifestyle that he feels he deserves. And when ends don’t meet, the family is forced to come to terms with the dark reality that lurks beneath the surface.
Law seeps into character as the entrepreneur who is so focused on discovering an overnight success that at times, he simply doesn’t focus on the minor details that truly matter. Coon does a great job of being his counterpart American wife. She gets a chance to showcase her verisimilitude and range that is impactful and, at times, poetic as their family dynamic begins to deteriorate.
Durkin does an exquisite job of subtly getting his nuanced messaging across. The story isn’t spoon-fed to the audience and has a realness about it that resonates today, despite being set over four decades ago. Durkin himself grew up between America and England during the 80’s so The Nest is essentially a reflection of his own personal experience.
Despite the fact that the patriarch of the family was seemingly trying to provide, it was clear that there was still something missing. Something intangible. Something often is forgotten and overlooked.
While The Nest does have a slow start, it more than makes up for it with its ultimate tonal beauty. But then provides a lesson that some seem to forget too quickly in tough times: The importance of family.