A young man with Asperger’s becomes a suspect for murder in this very interesting film driven with an excellent performance by Tye Sheridan.
Bartholomew “Bart” Bromley is a young man with Asperger’s who watches rooms from his workplace from his basement to help him learn how to communicate. He works nights at a local hotel as the desk clerk, checking in any latecomers. On one fateful, a woman named Karen Perretti checks into the motel. When Bart’s co-worker Jack arrives early, Bart leaves and heads home when he witnesses Karen being assaulted by a mysterious figure. Returning to the hotel, a gunshot is heard, and Bart is in the room with Karen’s corpse on the floor.
Detective Espada is in charge of the case and questions Bart, who is vehemently defended by his mother. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, Bart is transferred to another hotel in the chain. There, he meets the mysterious Andrea, who takes a liking to him because at first, she reminds him of her brother, who also suffered from Asperger’. Meanwhile, Espada is doing his research to see if Bart could be somehow connected to Karen’s murder. As Bart and Andrea slowly begin to grow closer, some dark secrets and revelations could turn the tides when Bart is suspected of Karen’s murder and his activities from home have been found.
Written and directed by Michael Cristofer, this is quite a fascinating film that has the feeling of a neo-noir film with the lead role being high on the autism spectrum. From the opening of the film, one can get the feeling something isn’t right when you see the character of Bart watching hotel rooms from the comfort of his own home. While it may seem like a case of perversion, as he explains to a particular character, he uses the videos as a means to learn how to communicate as part of his job due to his Asperger’s Syndrome.
Tye Sheridan is excellent in the role of Bart. It is clear he must have done his research when it comes to playing a man with Asperger’s. He comes off as unsociable, even towards his own mother, played by Helen Hunt. Instead of the two having dinner, she leaves his plate on the stairs of his room in the basement. When he comes across his boss, when he is asked a personal question, he replies with “that’s a complicated question” and goes into not one straight answer, but a variety of answers. When he’s the suspect in a murder, he doesn’t go all rash, but goes about his business, even when there are complications including his move to a new hotel and his eventual new friendship with Andrea.
Ana de Armas’ Andrea is quite the mysterious character as she is a meshing of a femme fatale and one who seeks an escape from her complicated life. A very charming character, she seems to have feelings for Bart. However, a complicated relationship makes it hard for her to escape. John Leguizamo is great as the detective in charge of the murder case. We see his character of Espada doing research on Asperger’s to get an understanding of Bart when he investigates him for the crime. As for Johnathon Schaech, he makes the most of his screen time as Nick, the husband of the victim, who has concerns for his wife and hopes that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.
The Night Clerk makes great use of its 90-minute running time with Tye Sheridan churning out an excellent performance in the titular role with great support from Ana de Armas’ femme fatale-like role who may also want to escape her complicated life.
WFG RATING: B+
Saban Films presents a Highland Film Group production in association with WPAK Productions. Director: Michael Cristofer. Producers: Arianne Fisher and David Wulf. Writer: Michael Cristofer. Cinematography: Noah Greenberg. Editing: Kristi Shimek.
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas, John Leguizamo, Helen Hunt, Johnathon Schaech, Jacque Gray, Austin Archer.