Noomi Rapace becomes a bonafide action star in the Netflix thriller, Close. She shoots, stabs, and pummels bad guys like an estrogen version of Jason Bourne. Rapace plays a veteran bodyguard protecting a wealthy teen. Close moves at a brisk pace with no shortage of bullets and beatdowns. The script attempts minor intrigue, but the details of the plot are lost in the fracas. It's a sweet, just not particularly memorable fix for action junkies.
Close security operative Sam Carlson (Noomi Rapace) is a bit worse for the wear after a tight scrape in the Middle East. She's offered quick money to guard a wealthy teenager for a week in Morocco. Zoe (Sophie Nélisse) is the daughter of a recently deceased mining magnate. She's constantly feuding with her stepmother (Indira Varma), who's furious the belligerent girl has inherited her father's shares in their company.
Sam is initially disrespected by the spoiled Zoe. The girl changes her tune when mysterious attackers infiltrate the family's fortified home. Sam must rely on all of her skills and courage to keep Zoe alive. The pair tries to discover who wants them dead, and where the stepmother's loyalty truly lies. Sam's relationship with Zoe becomes a reminder of her damaged past.
Close is directed by Vicky Jewson and co-written with Rupert Whitaker. The same team produced 2014's Born of War, where a girl discovers her terrorist background. Jewson continues on a similar track. She infuses her Close heroines with steel resolve in a world of ruthless men. The female characters are constantly brutalized, but never beaten into submission. The film is not a girl power exercise. But there is comeuppance for the men who attempt to assault them. Sam and Zoe fight for their lives at all cost. The savagery of survival is a gripping aspect of this film.
Noomi Rapace has towering screen presence in every role. She takes boot to ass here as a necessity. While the overall plot behind the kidnapping is mediocre, Rapace completely sells the conviction of her character. She's not a gleeful killing machine. Close has Sam continually shaken by her violent actions. Her true emotional response shores up Zoe's resolve in key scenes. Sophie Nelisse, grown up from The Book Thief, goes from terrified to resolute in the climax. The chemistry between the female leads prevent Close from being mindless.
The fight scene choreography is well done. Rapace isn't flipping people over or doing crazy martial arts moves. The fisticuffs are up close, raw and bloody. Sam makes good use of whatever implement is in her surroundings. The gun play is just as visceral. Rapace looks like a pro with automatics and handguns. Her skill set is that of a veteran combatant. A great line in the film has her chastising a colleague for being unreliable in the field. Rapace gets the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I did like that none of the action goes overboard. She thankfully isn't a one woman army.
Netflix will release Close globally on January 18th. It's a better than average actioner with a fantastic star. Noomi Rapace previously starred in Bright and What Happened to Monday for the streaming giant. She has certainly done well with Netflix. I have a feeling we'll see a sequel for Close. Who wouldn't want Noomi Rapace for a bodyguard?