The Loft: same film, same director, different language
by Aurore Engelen
- Following its screening at the Film Fest Gent, today sees the release of The Loft, Erik Van Looy’s US remake of his own box-office smash, Loft
Today sees the Belgian theatrical release of The Loft, Erik Van Looy’s remake of his own film, Loft [+see also:
film profile], which truly entered a league of its own, going on to become the champion of the Flemish box office. The sheer scale of the movie’s success in 2008 took everyone by surprise, exceeding 1.15 million admissions (bearing in mind the population base of six million) and giving Flemish cinema back its wings, after the region’s productions had regularly been courting the top spots at the box office since the 1980s. But Van Looy was certainly not lacking in experience in this regard, seeing how he had already been behind Flemish cinema’s previous smash hit, The Alzheimer Case [+see also:
film profile], which kick-started his international career. For a good while, he managed to resist the temptations of Hollywood in the wake of this success, and the director – who is also a star of the small screen in Flanders, where he hosts a general-knowledge quiz show – decided to film an American-style thriller in Belgium, a classic whodunit revolving around a group of five men linked by a single place (the loft apartment that serves as the venue for their extra-marital frolics), and of course by a secret (the lifeless body of a woman, who was apparently unknown to all of them, discovered in the flat). Who killed her? Who was lying? Who broke the bond of trust upon which the delicate structure of the loft was balanced? In addition to telling a well-sculpted, solid story with a slight hint of déjà vu, the film made full use of some spectacular sets, a cast that brought together the crème de la crème of Flemish acting talent, and some captivating cinematography courtesy of Danny Elsen.
And so for the US version, Van Looy has stuck with the same story, repeated his attention to detail when it comes to the sets, hired a different Belgian DoP (Nicolas Karakatsanis) and retained Matthias Schoenaerts in the cast. But actually, one could then wonder what point there is in releasing this new title in almost 35 cinemas, especially when they are all located in Flanders, where a great many viewers will have already seen the original. It is certainly not a given that the mere curiosity to see a linguistic variation on the same theme will be enough to draw in the crowds. Consequently, it is surprising that the film is not coming out in Wallonia, where audiences will therefore not have had access to either the original work, or to the remake of a film that enticed over one in ten of their compatriots to the cinemas…
(Translated from French)