Wild Card Tuesdays – Right At Your Door

Right At Your Door (2005, dir. Chris Gorak)
Starring Mary McKormack, Rory Cochrane

The concept of Right At Your Door has the makings of an amazing movie. The story is relegated to single home with a small number of cast (2 lead, 2 supporting) and brings up topics and themes very relevant to modern America. With all of these elements present, you would expect the film to be good. Sadly, it never really becomes about anything. It touches on a lot of ideas briefly, then abandons them, then collapses as film that never really goes anywhere. Its definitely working hard to be important but the substance isn’t there. It’s truly disappointing though, because it could have been one of the best films about post-9/11 America.

It’s a normal weekday morning in Los Angeles, Brad makes sure Lexi wakes up on time so she can head downtown for work. A few hours after she leaves, news reports come on talking about a series of coordinated explosions that have gone off in the most densely crammed traffic areas of the city. Authorities believe these were dirty bombs and that people need to stay in their homes, sealing their doors and windows off. Brad tries to head down but police have things blocked, so he gives up and waits in his home, terrified that Lexi is dead. However, Lexi turns up at the house, after Brad has sealed it off and now the heavy weight of confronting mortality is before them.

I see this as an awesome stage play. Two actors on stage, divided by a prop door. Very minimalist and very open to exploring lots of ideas about relationships, love, death, and the effects of terrorism and fear on contemporary America. Instead, the film has a great set up, I was completely onboard and ready to take this journey. And when Lexi first shows up after the explosion things are interesting, Brad is very torn. However, the film becomes repetitive in a way that is a technique of stalling. The picture is an hour and a half long and the screenplay doesn’t seem to know how to stretch that one day out in an interesting way. So all sorts of ludicrous things are thrown in. A friend of the couple shows up, a neighborhood child is wandering the street, there’s gestapo like military wandering the city. But it never adds up to a point, never reaches the profound pinnacle that it feels like it should. Instead we get a third act twist that is technically plausible, feels forced as a way to end the film on  quasi interesting note.

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