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“Intrusion” is the latest middling Netflix thriller to hit the streaming service, this one coming with the angle of being more about a marriage's problems than a home invasion. Call it “Scenes from a Marriage in a Netflix Thriller,” but then again those are generous qualifiers. The scenes from this marriage run flat, the thrills even more so.
Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green star in the movie from director Adam Salky as Meera and Henry, a married couple who just built a slick, expansive, modern home in New Mexico. They return from a date night, which includes playing Scrabble and drinking wine, only to find the place ransacked. No matter for Henry—he fixes up the place while she goes back to her job as a youth counselor. But then another home invasion! This time it’s much worse, with dead bodies made possible by a secret gun Henry had been hiding. It’s also when the movie starts to show its limits as a thriller trying to BS its way through the moments that matter most, with weird cutting and sometimes sideways camera angles that just obscure the action.
This scene happens about 20 minutes into “Intrusion,” which is beyond the cut-off point that Netflix requires for a viewing to be considered official. It’s a downhill coast from there, as the script combines mysteries that are neither tactfully planted nor answered to in all that surprising of a fashion. Who were the thieves that came from a trailer park, and what did they want? Why did Henry have a gun hidden away? There's also a missing girl in the mix. A lot of curious pieces in play, and the movie handles them as bluntly as lazily as seems possible, unable to sow a sense of distrust beyond relying on ugly class bias.
"Intrusion" benefits most from when you can still squint and see the underlying anguish that went into the story, and must have been part of the pitch when Chris Sparling (“Buried”) threw it together. As various mysteries add up, the relationship dynamics become more of a question—warmth leaves, and distrust, control, and lies settle in. Everything is still played very on the nose, given how blunt this mystery can only be, but it's the thematic visibility here that briefly gives it a bit of soul.
But for a movie about these two lovers and the stakes of their bond, it’s got a major problem with its performances. Marshall-Green is a boring, lazily scrawled question mark in this role that never makes him all that endearing or seem sincere; the evolution to his character is not rewarding. Even more unfortunate is how the movie traps Pinto to a series of connect-the-dot scenes of her snooping around, looking aghast at images on computer screens, or bungling through a trailer park. She would be more interesting to watch drive a car for 90 minutes, instead of trying to make the dull mechanics of this mystery appear more outlandish than they actually are.
Even on a more basic Netflix level, on the standard of whether the movie will hold your attention and make you glad you stayed, “Intrusion” is a bust. It proves only slightly stronger at piling on mysteries more than giving fulfilling answers to them, especially as its script has about a half-dozen too many conceits. There are simply too many moments here in which the characters, who we are supposed to care about in some form, are conveniently dumb. The kind of faint, cheap thrills that make apparent how everyone is a pawn here—not just the characters, but the subscribers too.
Now playing on Netflix.