Bargain is a dark comedy thriller that mixes marital drama with a robbery gone horribly wrong. The one I love director Charlie McDowell is directing from a screenplay written by Justin Lader and Andrew Kevin Walker. It is a film that introduces both cinematic and scenic elements. Bargain is a little muted, but it still delivers an entertaining neo-noir.
‘Windfall’ features a robbery gone wrong
A man known as Nobody (Jason Segel) breaks into the empty vacation home of a billionaire tech CEO (Jesse Plemons). The thief decides to take his time to explore the house and taste the sweetness of life. However, he is caught off guard when the CEO arrives with his wife (Lily Collins) for a last minute vacation.
Bargain continues to spin out of control as the trio tries to come up with a solution. No one is in over their head, however, as they try to get as much money as possible while coming out clean. The CEO and his wife just want to get the intruder out of their house, so they can enjoy the rest of their vacation weekend.
Director Charlie McDowell creates a classist home invasion
Lader and Walker’s script keeps all of its characters’ names hidden, simply assigning them to Nobody, CEO, and his wife. Bargain opens with No one lives the good life in a house that isn’t their own. However, it soon becomes clear that he is not a professional thief. He makes major mistakes and never seems to know what he’s doing and the CEO and his wife recognize that. As a result, they seem oddly calm.
Classism is a major theme in Bargain, as the characters have totally different views on what constitutes a good quality of life. The CEO and his wife repeatedly offer more money than anyone asks, laughing at the little money he asks for in his demands.
The CEO is an extraordinarily egocentric and selfish man. He created an algorithm intended to “enrich” the life of companies to exist with fewer employees. The CEO’s disrespect for those he deems less deserving extends to his own assistant, constantly degrading her.
Bargain plunges a marital drama into its home invasion chaos. The cracks in the CEO and his wife’s marriage begin to become a cobweb, as he has no problem putting her in danger to save his own skin. Lader and Walker’s storyline explores more personal dynamics between the pair, while Nobody remains a complete mystery.
‘Windfall’ features phenomenal performance from Jesse Plemons
Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about Bargain is his ability to switch focus between his characters. The film often plays with perspective on flight and social and economic climates. This constantly raises the question – who is the main character? McDowell alters the narration to make the audience guess who it really is.
The power of the dog actor Plemons delivers a delightful performance unlike anything he’s done before. He’s relentless as a self-absorbed CEO in a way that constantly steals the stage every time he’s on screen. Segel also puts in a solid performance, bringing a mix of dramatic and comedic chops. Finally, Collins provides a sense of sympathy and sincerity throughout the performance.
McDowell’s film is a marital drama wrapped in a home invasion thriller about classism and fate. Bargain is a compelling neo-noir with a particularly standout performance from Plemons. The movie is a little restrained in both its home invasion and marital drama, but it’s very entertaining.
Bargain is now available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
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