The new action/thriller “Close”, now streaming on Netflix, is refreshingly girl powered. The film, set in Morocco, stars Noomi Rapace as Sam, a counter-terrorism expert who is hired to protect spoiled and pampered heiress Zoe (Sophie Nelisse). Due to the unexpected death of her father, Zoe, instead of step-mom Rima Hassine (Indira Varma of “Game of Thrones” fame), is set to take over the majority of stocks in the family mining company. Zoe and Rima have a strained relationship, with Rima only seeming to care about what happens to herself as a result of her husbands death. Not only must Rima deal with her spoiled step-daughter, but a rival company vying for a lucrative contact. Shorty after the death of Zoe’s father, her current bodyguard quits and Sam is sent to take his place. Due to the death of her father and the two rival companies striving to purchase phosphate reserves, Zoe is considered a target for kidnapping and ransom, so her need for extreme protection is escalated. When Zoe meets Sam she is not impressed, and the two mix like oil and water. Despite the conflict between the two, Zoe is being protected in a home considered prison-like by her due to all the security cameras, armed guards and lock down procedures. Shortly after Sam begins adapting to her new surroundings and job, a small group of men manage to break into the supposedly impenetrable home and attempt to kidnap Zoe. After quite the battle, Zoe manages to escape her would be captors thanks to help from Sam, and the two are soon rescued by the Moroccan police. But are they safe in the hands of the police? As with any good thriller, the police are dirty and after a thrilling sequence, the duo manage to escape the police vehicle and are soon on the run in Casablanca. Zoe and Sam know a lot of the police force are crooked, so they must find a way to reach Rima for help. Further complicating matters is the fact Zoe is now a wanted criminal, of which I will not reveal why. The duo also discover they may have been betrayed by someone close to Zoe, and this results in Sam reaching out to her counter-terrorism cohorts to help the two escape the country. However, the escape does not go as planned thanks to a shocking moment, but Sam and Zoe prove to be dangerous opponents in spite of the challenges thrown their way. During the film, Sam and Zoe finally realize they must depend on one another for survival, and they eventually bond. The film is full of double crosses and shocking twists, perfect for this thriller. Director Vicky Jewson (“Born of War”) keeps the proceedings exciting and moving at a brisk pace (1 hour 34 minute run time), and allows her female lead to shine without overpowering her co-stars. Rapace (“Prometheus”) proves to be a mix Sigourney Weaver’s character from the “Alein” film series and Linda Hamilton’s “Terminator” character. In other words, Sam takes no prisoners. Rapace definitely needs to star in more films of this ilk, and I can see her as a hero or villain in a superhero movie. I really enjoyed this female lead action/thriller, and while the film breaks no new ground plot wise, you will nevertheless have a blast if you are a fan of this genre of film. “Close”, while far from perfect, provides for an intriguing and enjoyable flick, so sit back, strap in, and break out the popcorn. Now streaming on Netflix. (Rated TV-MA for violence and language)
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