It was with the release of Bryan Singer’s 1996 classic The Usual Suspects that Benicio del Toro’s career was placed quite firmly on the acting map. It is a career that has seen him notch up over sixty appearances, as well as pick up a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his turn in Steven Soderburgh’s 2000’s Traffic.

Having now worked with a number of prominent directors to date, including Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Guy Ritchie (Snatch) and Oliver Stone (Savages), to name but a few, his latest sees him star in film for a director making his directorial debut in this dark crime thriller.

boom reviews Reptile
With no food app available, the notion of cooking for themselves was too much.

Living in New England with his wife Judy (Alicia Silverstone) is Scarborough police detective Tom Nichols (del Toro). He’s hard working, taking as much overtime as he can, as the remodelling of their new kitchen isn’t going to pay for itself.

His latest case is the murder of Summer Elswick (Matilda Lutz), a house realtor who works with her husband Will (Justin Timberlake), who was viciously murdered on the property of an impressive home the couple were in the process of trying to sell.

Unfortunately it isn’t one of those open and shut cases, as there are a number of suspects that come to light, all of whom have a reasonable motive. But as Tom digs a little deeper, the case takes on some surprising twists the closer he gets to discovering her murderer.

boom reviews Reptile
Listen, I will bring sexy back, just not right now ok.

Although this is Grant Singer’s first stab at a feature, as it were, he’s no stranger to being behind the camera, as he’s made a career of directing a number of music videos for high profile artists such as Sam Smith, The Weeknd and Lorde. They’ve certainly put him in good stead for his film debut, which is satisfyingly assured.

Even though it’s only his first film, it already has a familiar style, coming across as the love child of David Fincher and the TV show True Detective. It’s slow, but never plodding, dark in tone without ever being graphic. In short, it’s impressive.

It’s not difficult to understand why del Toro signed on, especially as he co-wrote the script with Singer, helping to create a superior crime drama.

To say that del Toro’s performance was one note would normally be considered a criticism, but here it’s the complete opposite. His character has a base line of emotions throughout that rarely spike in any direction. In anyone else’s hands this would possibly be quite dull, but not with del Toro; there’s a subtle charisma there at all times, that makes him thoroughly engaging.

The same could be said about the film in general, with Singer creating a sense of tension out of seemingly nothing, although in the truth the film’s score by German composer Yair Elazar Glotman does a lot of the heavy lifting, surreptitiously in the background.

It’s also great to see a few ‘older’ faces, with some serious screen time for both Timberlake and Silverstone, with neither really doing much in the way of high profile appearances of late.

Overall it’s a slow-burner, and although the themes featured aren’t exactly original, Singer maintains an undeniable sense of intrigue that will have you riveted to the very end.

we give this four out of five