Plot holes are overcome by strong performances, and a narrative that does not succumb to Fatal Attraction (1987) style cliches. Fun to watch, but you’ll be discussing the flaws on your drive home from the theater.
As the pic opens, the camera pans around a window-filled empty house in LA’s San Fernando Valley. The house is being shown to Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall), by a real estate agent. The couple has moved to LA from Chicago, although Simon is originally from LA. The move back is a result of a promotion, and it looks like our happy couple is on the way up.
Soon after, as they are at a store, arranging delivery of some items for their new home, a guy (Joel Edgerton) comes up to Simon, and introduces himself as Gordon Mosely, a high school classmate of Simon’s. They exchange a few pleasantries, and Gordon aka Gordo leaves, but inadvertently discovers the couple’s address, as they are giving it to the store clerk.
Next thing you know, Gordo keeps showing up at their house bearing gifts, including a bottle of wine, and some fish for their Koi pond. He even helps stay-at-home Robyn hook up her cable TV. This is making Simon uncomfortable, but maybe he is overreacting. He tells Robyn that Gordo was known as a weirdo in high school. Still, Robyn forces Simon to accept Gordo’s invitation to dinner, which ends up being at a surprisingly nice home. However, all is not quite what it seems, as details on the pasts of both Simon and Gordo slowly emerge.
A few “menacing” events occur and the tension builds. All is explained in the last act, which also includes Gordo’s final gift.
***SPOILERS AND OTHER COMMENTS***
What are the chances that Gordo appear just as Simon is telling his address to the clerk? Since the entire story hinges on Gordo showing up unannounced, this was a pretty pathetic device for him finding out where the couple lives. It would have added more to the tension if he had followed them home to gain this knowledge, don’t you think?
Simon is supposed to be an exec with a computer security firm, yet another key plot point is driven by him being pretty lax with security of certain documents at his own home. We could also ask why his home has no alarm system.
Yet another key plot point is driven by Simon being told the name of his chief rival for a promotion. It is extremely unlikely that such information would be revealed in real life.
On the one hand, we are asked to believe that Simon’s dark side is released only by encountering Gordo. On the other hand, Bad Simon comes to the fore regarding the promotion matter, as well—which has nothing at all to do with Gordo. Thus, how likely is it that Robyn would never have noticed this aspect of Simon’s personality?
Many critics describe Gordo’s final gift as “ambiguous,” and in one sense it is. Of course, that’s the whole point, as you will see—even if they did not.