Mark Costello’s review published on Letterboxd:
A textbook example of how to show the bare minimum to hook and keep the audience hooked throughout...…….
For all the technical pizazz that Villeneuve brought to this (and he brought the lot), its Sheridan's script that is the star - from its opening hook, to drip feed of characters and events, to maintaining a constant sense of unease and growing dread, through to its third act reveal and giving us a dark, murky yet still wholly fulfilling conclusion, its totally wonderful.
The only slight mis-step for me is the thinly sketched Mexican policeman who's thread juts into the main thread at several points throughout the film - it works on a level that it needs to (to show the impact of this seemingly nether world of international espionage on the everyman), yet because we never get to know him or his family, it begins to feel like an afterthought fairly quickly.
And yet if any more had been taken away from the main narrative it would have been missed. There's nary a misplaced line of dialogue or wasted character beat across the entire two hours, with the film feeling at times akin to a horror film than an action thriller of the more traditional kind - the ghoulish opening discovery to the startling attack on Blunt in her apartment, through to the tunnel descent, its pitched and shot exactly like a modern day scarefest, the sense of palpable tension ratcheted up to almost unbearable levels.
And the hallmark of the tightness of the script and the fantastic character work put in my all? The third act reveal that drowns in the mundanity and the darkness of the human soul - a similar third act reveal in Ad Astra elicited howls of that it was a letdown after all that had gone before: yet here it feels totally right for the world established and anything but would have been greeted with similar feelings to Pitt's classic/missed opportunity (delete as appropriate).