For anyone who missed the Jude Law Years — that period from The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) to The Holiday (2006) — the British actor is perhaps a supporting act.

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Not so to those who caught him in those years. It’s tricky holding on to leading man Law, considering the popularity of The Sherlock Holmes movies, but let’s freeze-frame the man as the charismatic heartthrob-heartbreaker in Alfie (2004). Especially its last scene.

You might remember that monologue, adapted from the Michael Caine original: “I will not commit. I will never marry.”

That is the image Law’s turn as Rory O’Hara in The Nest suggests. But older and with a family. As with Alfie, Rory is selfish. Soon after we meet him in the US, he tells his wife Allison (Carrie Coon) that he wants to move to London. She isn’t quite on the same page with him but she has little choice but to move.

The house they move to turns out to be a lot grander than Allison expects. She worries about the cost, about their finances but Rory says not too worry. But of course, she worries because she knows just just how much they have. If the problem seems ridiculous for a person who works in finance, it is. Something is pushing Rory. It might be middle-life crisis but it is also something to do with where he is coming from. As Philip Larkin wrote about parents: they fuck you up.

The Nest drifts to drudgery in some scenes as director Sean Durkin is immersed in psychology over action. But Law is excellent, giving off a star’s likeability under DOP Matyas Erdely’s lens in a role that should hardly provoke sympathy. There should be some more life to The Nest; its material is compelling enough for that to be the case without sacrificing too much of the delicacy that the material requires. That never really happens. Thankfully, the camera never leaves Jude Law for long. And whenever he is onscreen, he repays the viewer’s attention.

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