MrSneakyMan’s review published on Letterboxd:
If anyone has ever wondered what a septuagenarian white lady from Colorado might think about this movie, she hated it. Yes, my mother tapped out early and angrily. Insults were hurled at the TV, the film, and by extension, me for liking it. As it happens, I had no hand in making this film, so my fragile feelings were spared and my ego remains intact.
A scant 3 hours later, I finished the film alone. I loved it. I thought about it all night. Dreamed about it. Then spent the day thinking about it, when I could. It's a trip. A pressure cooker timebomb that forces you to sit right next to it while Sandler's Howard Rattner keeps cranking up the pressure while continually insisting that it's fine. Things are going to work out. You'll see. When you know--you KNOW--things are most certainly not going to be fine.
This thing is going to explode and your instinct is to get away from it. But it won't let you. Or rather, you won't let you. At a certain point, I realized I was literally sitting forward, on the edge of my seat, and had been for the last half an hour.
This is one I am going to need to watch again. A few times, at least. It so effectively sets everything up, using multiple visual and audio queues, and throws everything into motion, the filmmaking becomes invisible. The editing. Cuts, never dropping below a harried pace, but when tension ramps up, they become rapid, frantic. Leaves you with a feeling like you are missing important information. If they would only pan right. Just once. To ease that terrible feeling. A lot of that feeling is derived from the noise.
The Safdies use noise as a weapon. did you do the thing?, blaring audio from the TV, knocking, where's the money?, buzzers, don't lean on the glass, telephones ringing, Where's The Money?, people rattling locked doors, trying to get in, Don't Lean On The Glass!, voices, a room full of people, all talking over each other, louder more harried now, Did You Do The Thing?, banging, people full on hitting doors, the walls, shouting, violence is unavoidable, DID YOU DO THE THING? WHERE'S THE MONEY? DON'T LEAN ON THE GLASS! And over all of it, in the most fevered and chaotic moments, the sublime notes of Daniel Lopatin's electronic score settle in.
It's the noise that forms the walls of Howard's self built prison. He can't ever get away from it. Just a brief reprieve before it catches back up to him again. But the truth is, Howard doesn't want to get away from it. The noise is the juice for him. He rides it like a wave. The noise hurts him but he can't stop himself. The noise is Howard at his most serene.