Joel Edgerton's directorial debut was a decent effort albeit one that was thematically and stylistically inconsistent, but a smarter-than-average pseudo-intelligentsia story with decent performances by Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Edgerton made this film an entertaining enough watch.
The story itself (which was also written by Edgerton) was rather straightforward, but Edgerton managed to slowly tease out the details and secrets such that the audience were more or less constantly guessing. However, there were times when the script was too smart for its own good.
The First Act was excellent, and then someway in the Second Act, Blum House Productions got control and it somehow morphed into a horror/slasher-flick cliche, and in the Third Act, the resolution felt rushed and unearned.
More time and effort should have been spent on developing the characters more fully. Instead, Edgerton spent his energy on moving the plot forward and left the characterisations to his actors.
Bateman did a great job, but his character's progression from the start to the end was the most abrupt. Although there were little hints here and there, they felt more like afterthoughts by the director and/or actor rather than organic to the character.
Hall, on the other hand, was more impressive. She eschewed the typical damsel-in-distress but her character must be one hell of a techno-phobe! The central conflict could have been easily resolved if she actually just used the internet! Or go to the local library for that matter. Or just some good ol'fashion Nancy Drew sleuthing.
Edgerton was creepy enough in a benign sort of way with a hair cut that could almost give Javier Bardem from No Country For Old Men a run for his money. Directing oneself can definitely be challenging, and it shows here. Edgerton's character was more distracting than anything else, and similarly, his character was as flat emotionally as he was internally.
All in all, you could really feel all 108 minutes of its run time and as pseudo-intellectual as Edgerton made the ending to be, it still felt like an emotional cop out because it was not earned.