Review: Marriage disintegrates slowly in simmering 'The Nest'

Jude Law and Carrie Coon star in drama that unfolds in 1980s Britain

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

A marriage implodes in slow motion in "The Nest," a nuanced adult drama about the façades we build and how quickly they can be blown down, especially by the ones we love. 

Jude Law and Carrie Coon are the married couple at the center of this tale, set in '80s Britain. It's a time of great excess and wealth and Law plays Rory O'Hara, a commodities broker who likes to envision himself as a big-timer. He's got a big house and important clients but he's flat broke, and his wife Allison (Coon) is starting to see him for the fraud that he is. 

Carrie Coon and Jude Law in "The Nest."

For Rory — who came from nothing and made a million dollars, only to see it slowly slip away — there's always been an out, a pivot, a move to make to keep the illusion up for a little bit longer. But he's over-leveraged and he's running out of rope, and he's forced to take stock in what he is and what he's become. 

"The Nest" is a slow burn, and writer-director Sean Durkin — in his long-awaited follow-up to 2011's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" — takes his time in telling his story and putting the pieces in place. When the house of cards comes crashing down it does so not with a wallop but with a quiet grimace, and Law and Coon play their roles as though they lived inside their characters' heads for years. 

"The Nest" comes alive with its stately settings and moody lighting cues that make it look like a stage drama. But most of it unfolds on its characters faces, or in the way a smart remark or a sly rebuttal has the ability to cut its subject to pieces and cause them to fall limply to the floor. It's the kind of movie that hits you in waves, and those waves keep coming long after the credits have rolled by. Even after it's over, "The Nest" continues to build.


'The Nest'


Rated R: for language throughout, some sexuality, nudity and teen partying

Running time: 107 minutes