“Every Breath You Take” declares itself as a thriller in obvious ways, with chillingly minimalist interiors, ominously cresting music and a bluish-gray theme. The film, directed by Vaughn Stein and written by David K. Murray, rides on several stereotypes that you almost anticipate it to deviate from them, but the storyline is equally predictable.
Dr. Philip Clark (Casey Affleck), a renowned psychiatrist, speaks of his ethically questionable therapeutic technique — which includes revealing his own deep dark secrets with patients — that has held one of them, the homicidally minded Daphne (Emily Alyn Lind), safe and off drugs, at a conference. She kills herself later that night.
Dr. Clark arrives on the scene and meets Daphne’s distressed brother (Sam Claflin). James receives an invite to supper at the Clarks’ and ultimately wins over Philip’s wife, daughter, Lucy (India Eisley), and Grace (Michelle Monaghan) with his appealing English accent, dimpled grin, and injured puppy disposition. James enters their lives as a dangerous new presence. Claflin exudes the formulaic consistency by flitting between optimistic and insane as he delves deeper into the lives of the Clark women, and therefore into Philip’s psyche.
Whereas, anonymous letters are undermining Philip’s reputation, despite his statements that he has no clue who is behind them. All of the actors become surprisingly complex pawns, with the women being particularly targeted. Monaghan’s character, in particular, is tarnished. The movie begins with her own misfortune, the demise of her son in a car crash, which is mentioned only briefly and insignificantly later in the film. “Every Breath You Take” is mostly lukewarm and tedious, with just a few brief moments of shocking thrills.
The biggest drawback of this film is that the storyline isn’t especially original. You can witness the events opening up in a way that looked like they could have come right out of any other genre film. That’s not to mention, it was uninteresting; it was fascinating enough to keep you stick throughout the movie, but not engrossing enough to draw you in. The film just did not stand out sufficiently.
Although Every Breath You Take didn’t exactly leave us stunned and surprised, it wasn’t a bad watch in the end. This could be one that rolled through your computer if you were relaxing in on the sofa for a long series of psychological thrillers. But whether or not it will be the theater’s main attraction is a different matter.