November 2, 2018 Welcome Home (Movie Review)
Sometimes couples go through rough patches but just refuse to let go of the love that already exists. A change of scenery, even for a few days, is often the solution for a last effort to hold on and stay together. What if the new scenery is even more threatening than the problems the couple originally were facing? With this in mind, available exclusively on DIRECTV October 18th to November 14th, and in theaters & On Demand November 16th via Vertical Entertainment, Welcome Home is a thrilling film that explores the idea that the new is not always the safest path.
Written by David Levinson and directed by George Ratliff (Joshua 2007, Salvation Boulevard 2011), the story follows Bryan (Aaron Paul: Breaking Bad series, A Long Way Down 2014) and Cassie (Emily Ratajkowski: Gone Girl 2014, We Are Your Friends 2015), an American couple who are having relationship issues. Cassie cheated on Bryan and the two just cannot move on. They decide to travel to Italy and rent a renovated 13th century monastery from an online website called Welcome Home for a week to try and rekindle their romance. Bryan loves Cassie but just cannot erase images and thoughts of her with another man. Cassie is resentful because she cannot understand why he just cannot get over it.
The monastery is owned by a man named Eduardo (Francesco Acquaroli: The Red and the Black 1997, Sole, curore amore 2016). It is his home and there are pictures throughout of him. The monastery is also far from town and most neighbors. There is one, Federico (Riccardo Scamarcio: Loose Cannons 2010, John Wick: Chapter 2 2017), whom Cassie quickly befriends. Federico is a handsome local man who takes an instant liking to Cassie. This creates even more resentment and jealousy in Bryan. What Bryan and Cassie are unaware of is that their quiet vacation will soon turn into something even more sinister and life-changing. Who is Federico really? Why is he spending so much time hanging around them? For that matter, does Eduardo really exist? Or was this all some elaborate trap? The real question is not can Bryan and Cassie’s relationship survive, but can they survive?
Bryan and Cassie are the perfect modern couple. Both are highly attractive to the point that wherever the pair might go, heads will surely turn. They met on tinder and immediately began an intense romance. The chemistry between the two actors is equally intense. That in mind, Paul successfully plays a man who is so in love with his girlfriend that he cannot perform or move on past the idea of another man touching her. The conflict shown on his face when the two attempt sexual entanglements or even when he is alone with his silent thoughts radiates off the screen and allows the viewer to feel an instant connection with him.
Everyone has had their heart ripped out at one point or another, but still wants to do everything possible to make things the way they once were. Even with all his faults, Paul’s Bryan is without question the more likable out of the couple. Cassie, on the other hand, caused the riff between the two yet she holds a type of selfish defiance that still blames him for her infidelities. Ratajkowski portrays Cassie in a way that the viewer will struggle to like her.
Cassie is clearly a sweet girl who made a mistake and does love Bryan, but the anger and frustration she shows does not match that of someone who is actually sorry for what she has done. She blames both Bryan and the other man for her actions. This portrayal is excellent as by the climax of the film the viewer finally sees that yes, Bryan and Cassie do belong together and just might have the strength to move on. The actors allow the viewer to become invested in both their relationship and their ultimate survival.
Additionally, Scamarcio’s Federico is also cast expertly. Scamarcio is a very attractive Italian man that drips with sexuality. Placing him in the center of a couple who are already having trust issues brings even more tension into an already unstable situation. He is charming and seemingly very nice. His presence draws out Bryan’s jealously which continues to push Cassie further away from Bryan and dangerously close to Federico.
It has been said before that whenever renting out someone else’s home extra precautions should be made. Just because a rental site has verified the home and renter, it does not mean that the house is safe to stay in. In this modern world, no one really thinks twice about staying at a strangers home or even getting into a strangers car. Anyone can just order up transportation or housing from their phones or computers. They just have to trust the company would not list a place that is unsafe. Films like Welcome Home all have the same basic premise.
Films can live or die based on casting alone. Welcome Home excels in this. Taking the same actors and putting them into a different plot and setting would still succeed. It is rare when two actors have so much chemistry on screen that it captivates the viewer. It is even more precious when the same can be said about three. The plot of the film is not necessarily original, but it works because of the actors and a well-written script. It definitely results in a compelling, thrilling, gripping film that should be on everyone’s watchlist. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock give Welcome Home 4.5 out of 5 stars.