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Effective thriller '10x10' features smart acting and twists

Effective thriller '10x10' features smart acting and twists
Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly in the movie "10x10." (Vertical Entertainment)

A lean, well-acted thriller, "10x10" overcomes limited locations and a slight narrative thanks to a plot that keeps viewers guessing, all the way from its shocking opening act of violence to a bruising and morally hazy final fight.

Written by Noel Clarke and directed by Suzi Ewing, "10x10" stars Luke Evans as a mysterious stalker named Lewis, who abducts a woman (Kelly Reilly) and stashes her in a soundproof cell in his remote suburban home. Furious and brutal, Lewis demands only to know his prisoner's name. For some reason, when she says it's "Cathy," that only makes him madder.

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The first half of "10x10" resembles torture-porn horror like "Saw" and "Inside," where someone's kidnapped and knocked around for reasons known only to the sadist. In the second half, the audience learns why Lewis is so upset, and sympathies shift.

The pivot point comes a bit later than necessary. Though the first half of the picture is adequately tense and well-made, it's not strikingly cinematic or engagingly mysterious enough to justify the stalling.

Or maybe the problem is that "10x10" takes too long to let Evans and Reilly off the leash. Once viewers know who's who and what's what, the two stars add some impressively dense layers to their characters. By the time they — and we — realize that only one of them is going to survive this siege, what started as suspense develops into tragedy.

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‘10x10’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Playing: Galaxy Mission Grove Luxury+, Riverside; also on VOD

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