Movie Review: ‘Rosy’ a Divertingly Offbeat Captive Comedy
A young woman is abducted and held captive by an obsessive weirdo in Rosy, a stylish and sure-handed debut from writer-director Jess Bond that takes a routine setup in an offbeat and unexpected direction.
Rosy is played by Stacy Martin, the striking star of Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, and she’s nabbed in a back alley by Doug (Nat Wolff), complete with a chloroform-doused rag, in a sequence so conventional it almost plays out as parody.
But this is serious stuff, right? Rosy wakes up in handcuffs on a bed in a small room with boarded-up windows and a bolted door, and immediately realizes what’s going on. Wolff’s creep doesn’t exactly inspire confidence when he tells her that he isn’t going to hurt her and lets her know about the camera watching her every move - from which she can request anything she needs.
Frightened and alone with little recourse of getting out of the basement room she’s in, Rosy quickly shrinks inside of herself while flashbacks depict what we assume was her previous relationship, with a documentary filmmaker played by Johnny Knoxville.
But while Rosy begins as a familiar woman-in-captivity thriller, it grows more and more unusual as the relationship between Rosy and Doug is developed and it slowly morphs into a droll comedy. This creep that abducted her does genuinely seem to care about her, especially when contrasted against the obnoxious Knoxville character.
Aided by a bouncy original score credited to Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, director Bond maintains an unusually light tone throughout the film, and the juxtaposition with the serious premise keeps us on our feet. Rosy never appears to be in any serious danger from Doug - - but of course there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.
As Rosy becomes the dominant force in her relationship with Doug, successfully negotiating the terms of her captivity, we can only assume she’s playing along in order to manipulate the right circumstance for an eventual escape. Or is she? Has some for of Stockholm Syndrome kicked in, and Rosy developed empathy for her captor?
Contrasted with the usual woman-in-captivity thriller - like the recent 10x10 or Tau - Rosy scores points for avoiding the usual clichés and leading us down an interesting and unusual path. But it also, surprisingly, works as an offbeat comedy. Wolff shares a couple dryly funny scenes with a doctor played by Tony Shalhoub, and the character’s matter-of-fact attitude towards the situation he has created is wryly amusing, especially contrasted against the life-or-death scenario that his captive considers.
Rosy is bolstered by some elegant neon-lit cinematography by Zack Galler and a terrific and lovingly-arranged soundtrack, the kind of diverse mix you might find in an old-school Tarantino flick, which includes vintage hits like Hot Chocolate’s Every 1’s a Winner, Leslie Gore’s Magic Colors, Françoise Hardy’s Voilà, and Herbie Hancock’s Blow-Up score.