After a couple move into their plush duplex in New Mexico, a sudden break-in leaves both of them grappling to hold on to their secrets. As their marriage stands on a delicate balance, the two try to navigate the newly disrupted space.
Story: Meera and Henry’s recent shift into a new house is met with an unfortunate break-in that leaves the couple shell-shocked. A second attempt by the miscreants exposes hidden interpersonal truths lurking in the shadows which require Meera to investigate further.
Intrusion’s main crux lies in the delicate balance between a married couple, Meera (Freida Pinto) and Henry (Logan Marshall-Green). Swerving through their years of togetherness and its recent decay, the two have reached an impasse of sorts. They hide things from each other and hope that the secrets will glue their marriage securely.
The film begins with their shift to a plush duplex in suburban New Mexico. Meera, (a psychiatrist) and Henry (who works as an architect) rave about their new surroundings and director Adam Salky and cinematographer Eric Lin do justice to the landscape. However, Salky takes a botched-up approach to the couple’s relationship with their surroundings. In a film which depends heavily on the ambience, especially their house which becomes a subject of the unwelcome intruder, it was essential to explore the inhabitants’ equation with the surroundings.
After coming from a dinner and date night, the Parsons find out that their place is ransacked, and mysteriously the intruders have taken nothing but a laptop and two cell phones. The incident’s consequences immediately draw attention to Henry’s lack of interest in installing an alarm system while designing and building the house. Meera’s nonchalance with it also raises considerable questions.
Henry manages to install an alarm system hastily and fix the house, while Meera returns to her job as a youth counselor. But a second break-in happens, and this time, turns into a violent one, with Henry shooting one of the intruders dead. The gun’s presence, unbeknownst to Meera, is also a motif to indicate the growing distance between the couple.
All of this happens around the twenty-minute mark of the film, and from here on, things go downhill. The film’s script intertwines mysteries that aren’t considerately planted and are often left without an explanation, especially the missing girl’s half-baked sub-plot. The toxicity of their relationship, and its gradual decay from the haydays of Henry standing firm as a rock by Meera during her difficult phase of breast cancer and PTSD, should have been the focus of the film. Salky could have drawn inspiration from Malcolm & Marie, and base the whole film on the distrust that insidiously crept into the dynamics of Meera and Henry’s equation and as a result, this could have taken the film towards a bolder direction. But a sloppy hand of writing coupled with cheap thrills does little to buoy this apparent home invasion thriller.
Meera and Henry’s home, which also forms the central trope in the film, feels slightly insipid and detached, instead of being the safe space that ensures the couple’s sanity. Much like their marriage, their home hardly manages to cross the external veneer of perfection to mean anything profound. The film also does not invest in their characters. Both Meera and Henry go about their lives fleetingly and audiences seldom get an insight into their professional worlds.
The performances are lacklustre as well. Pinto is unable to break out of her shell or behave like anything but a hapless damsel-in-distress, even as she pursues leads to find answers to the mysteries that Intrusion keeps piling on viewers. As for Marshall-Green, he doesn’t quite rise above the film’s genre contraption to make his motives or villainy believable.
Verdict: Intrusion, as a thriller, is like one of those generic one-time watches. It excites you enough for a wee bit, to suspend a certain amount of disbelief, but as the end credits begin rolling, you don’t remember why you started watching it in the first place.