Join your intrepid hosts as we delve into this 2023 Netflix crime thriller – a surprisingly good (well, it surprised us at least) film that offers more than any description or trailer could provide. We’re fans of all the actors here, and we fanboy over Benicio del Toro and his burning performance here, and talk about how the film world needs more Alicia Silverstone.

Reptile (2023)
directed by: Grant Singer
starring: Benicio del Toro – Justin Timberlake – Alicia Silverstone – Michael Pitt
136 min

Transcript (via Apple Podcasts)

Hi there, welcome back to The Reel Film Chronicles podcast.

As always, I’m Nathan.

And I’m Brian.

And in this week’s very special episode, we’re going to be taking a look at a little film called Reptile.

Reptile, directed by Grant Singer and starring none other than Benicio del Toro, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Silverstone, amongst a whole host of other folks in there, but you might recognize a few faces.

A bunch of those people, a bunch of that guys.

A bunch of that guys.


That guy, I know him from stuff.

I know that guy from something.

Oh man.

As always, we will, this is your spoiler warning.

If you haven’t seen the movie and you’re interested in checking it out, I believe it is streaming on Netflix.

It is a Netflix original movie, so it’s out there.

It’s got the red end, yeah.

Check it out or not.

Either way, listen to the episode and we’ll be going into spoilers whatever we do there.

So there’s your warning.


I read the description on this and it mentioned a real estate agent in Scarborough.

And I’m thinking, oh, maybe this is a little bit of a Canadian connection film here, but it’s…

It’s a little bit of a Canadian.

It’s just like, because, you know, in my mind it’s like, oh, it’s like Enemy from a few years ago from Villeneuve.

Obviously, he’s a Canadian director and it was like filmed in Toronto and some of the surrounding areas.

Well, one of the plot points, they actually went and met…

They mentioned Mississauga.

It was a Mississauga address and they went and met in a hotel in Mississauga.

It’s like, yeah, it’s cool.


And that would be cool if this was actually Scarborough, but it wasn’t.

It was another Scarborough somewhere in the US.

Yeah, who cares?

I was so disappointed.

I didn’t even look it up afterwards to see where in the US it was or if it was even a real city, even when the movie was starting and be like, oh, that’s definitely not Scarborough.

Definitely not Scarborough.

I was like, maybe del Toro’s name is Scarborough or something.

Because when I looked at the description, I didn’t even read what it was.

It was just like, all I saw was the word Scarborough and I was there.

But no, this is, what is this?

Is it a crime thriller drama?

Yeah, I mean, I want to say right off the bat, it was refreshing to go into a different genre of film.

And based on where we watch this coming hot off the heels of Halloween, spooky season, both you and I have watched nothing but horror movies for the past 30 days.

When this episode eventually airs, we’ll probably be a couple of months out of that, so it might be a little bit weird.

But it was kind of nice sitting down with a genre of it.

I don’t necessarily watch all that often, or I don’t go to my way to watch, especially a movie that’s clocking in at like two hours, 15 minutes or so.

It did feel a little bit long.

Maybe that’s a spoiler for some of our opinions in the movie, but partway through the movie, I checked that I had to pause to go to the bathroom or something.

I looked at the time and laughed, and I’m like, really?

There’s still that much time left?

It doesn’t feel like there’s that much more.

I felt I’ve been down here for a while, man.

Yeah, it was definitely getting a little long in the tooth.


But I think generally, overall impressions here, first impressions were like, I think I enjoyed watching this movie.

I was into it.

I didn’t find myself checking my phone too often.

I don’t know if you use that as a barometer when you’re watching movies at home, especially Netflix.

Some background, Netflix will talk about how their competition may not be other streamers and like movie services.

They are for sure.

But they also consider other forms of entertainment, their competition, like your phone and apps on your phone are a direct competitor to Netflix, right?

Because they know you will just go do something else.

You can easily just turn this movie off and load up your phone, or a lot of people watch movies on their phone.

If you get a notification from a different app, you’re going to switch over to that app and forget about the movie, right?

And not about that.



It’s almost sacrilegious to think about watching a movie on your phone.

I can’t imagine.

But, you know.

No, I use that as a brown.

I always when I’m sitting downstairs in my kind of movie room downstairs, or the rec room downstairs rather.

And I always have my phone kind of beside me, beside the two controllers.

And I use that as a barometer.

Like very, very rarely am I ever tempted in the middle of a movie to go and start looking at my phone.

And I know that I think you do it a little bit more often than I do without a doubt.

I know that if I’m going for my phone during a movie, like that’s I am not engaged at all.

It takes a lot to lose my engagement to that point.

But I always have my phone right beside me.

So and there’s that temptation there.

And I know a couple of times in the past couple of only a couple of times, it only happens a couple of times a year really.

Whereas I find myself, I look over my hands on my phone and I’m like, yeah, okay, you’re losing me here.

It’s another brawler I find is, obviously with the phone distraction, but I’ll make a bowl of popcorn at the beginning of the movie.

And it takes me about 25 minutes to go through that bowl of popcorn.

That’s guaranteed 100% focus on the movie because there’s no phone opportunity.

Yeah, exactly.

After that, if I can go another half hour without the phone, I know I’m hooked on this movie.

But if you finish your snack and you’re immediately reaching for that phone, it’s bad news.


So what were your overall impressions of this?

How did you walk into this?

Were you interested in it beforehand?

Was it just the buzz of the latest Netflix movie coming out?

How did you end up watching Reptile?

Well, I was watching something else on Netflix and this ad came up for Reptile.

And I’m going to say the ad looked really good and it was Benicio del Toro, Justin Timberlake, a bunch of other recognizable names, and the way it was all edited together.

All this looked like a really interesting kind of crime thriller.

And this was actually on my radar.

It was one of those Netflix films that were movies in general that was on my radar.

So I was going in with maybe a bit higher expectations.

I enjoyed the film overall.

I think it fell a little bit short from what I was expecting.

I was hoping for this to look like a Diamond in the Rough is what it looked like.

And it ended up being just like it’s a solid crime thriller, but it didn’t excel, didn’t really stand out.

It was a great middle of the road, a great maybe Sunday afternoon movie, I think is kind of the terminology we tend to use.

I think there was, for me, I think there was a bit of an issue I think we touched on before, but with the pacing and maybe with the editing, the editing felt really jarring and really abrupt.

And that can work really well.

I just felt like, yeah, I don’t usually notice things like editing.

If editing is done right, it’s typically something like me won’t notice when they’re watching a film, right?

But the editing was done in such a way that they were like, I noticed it and not in a good way.

Like, oh, that’s really cool.

Edgar Wright’s doing something crazy, transition on a train ride from the city to the country is like, yeah, you notice the editing in a good way.

I was noticing the editing in a bad way here.

It’s just like, I don’t know, something felt like there were missing scenes or felt like maybe the pacing issue or some of the scenes maybe could have been cut or should have been extended.

But something about the pacing editing just felt a little bit off to me.

There was a lot of ambiguity in the movie as well, which I didn’t mind actually.

Some people online, I was looking at some forums, some discussions where people like, oh, they wanted more definitive answers to what was going on.

I actually liked that they left it open where you had to kind of connect the dots yourself.

I didn’t mind that.

I really liked that part of it actually.

It felt like some of the thrillers of old.

I think there was a golden era of late 90s, early 2000s thriller, the crime thrillers genre, usually starring Morgan Freeman as a jaded police officer involved in there somehow.

This felt like almost like a throwback to that, but didn’t quite reach those heights of something like A Long Came a Spider or something.

From the 90s or early 2000s.

Yeah, not to put you on the spot, are there any scenes where the editing, any examples you could throw out there where some of that pacing and editing and the scene did not work for you?

I’m trying to think.

There were some, I think when they were in the house, showing it off at first, there were some scenes when they were driving around, like when he was doing the investigation out to the old church.

There was just some interesting, I think when the dude was a guy’s name, Eli, I think, was making his soup.

There was between certain transitions, between like, oh, when they were going out, that scene felt like it was too long, the soup scene.

It was just making soup.

But in between doing the police work and then going to his domestic stuff, they’re going out lion dancing and doing some other things.

I really like that showing the actual life of this guy.

He’s like, oh, he has a life outside of police work.

That was really cool.

You’re talking about del Toro’s character here.

Del Toro’s character Nichols, I think his name was, right?

Yeah, Tom Nichols.

Tom Nichols.

Yeah, Nichols had an actual life.

He’s doing kitchen renovations.

That hit home for me.

I just did kitchen renovations last year.

So I was like, yeah.

And it’s funny when you go to people’s houses, like, oh, yeah, I really like, this counter looks really nice.

You’re like, I really like this island.

And during the crime scene investigation, when he’s doing that, it’s like, that felt really real.

But yeah, transitioning between those things and some of the scenes just felt like a couple, like maybe like 10 seconds, maybe minutes too long.

Just here and there.

And just the transitions between the scenes.

I don’t know.

It felt really jarring, but not in a way that was intentional.


Yeah, that’s fair.

One of the scenes that I wanted to talk about, talking about the kitchen renovations was, I really appreciate this about the movie where Tom Nichols, like Benicio del Toro here, they’re interviewing Justin Timberlake in his house.

They’re going through the crime scene a little bit.

It’s just him and his partner in the kitchen talking to Timberlake.

He goes off to take care of a phone call or something.

They’re just sitting there chilling, and he turns on the tap, the faucet.

In the kitchen, the water doesn’t come on, and he determines that it’s a motion activate thing.

He plays with that, and he actually takes a picture of it secretly.

I loved that disconnect.

Well, it’s not a disconnect.

I love that connection with his personal life.

You would go into other people’s houses and see things that you’d want to implement in your own home, but also how maybe uninvested he is in this possible case that he’s looking at where it’s just like, oh, we’re not going to take the extra opportunity to talk about interviewing this guy or figuring out who’s the murderer.

I’m focused on personal items here of like, this is the faucet I want to install.

And then we see scenes later where he actually gets the new faucet delivered and installed into his home.

I don’t think it’s him being uninvested in the case.

I think it’s just showing that, oh, yeah, he’s a real person with a life that’s going on outside of the police.

Because so often in these movies, you see this person, literally all they do, the cop characters, they go to work, they go home and sleep and they come back to work.

It’s like, no, no, this guy has a wife.

He’s doing kitchen renovations.

He’s got, when they’re looking for the car and they’re going to use car laws to see if it was sold, the car that was used committing the crime, the murder at the beginning, which we totally skipped over.

But then he’s like, oh, there’s a truck next to him, like a Chevy Silverado.

I was like, oh, yeah.

He starts asking the dealer about the specifications on the truck.

And he’s like, oh, yeah, that’s like, he’s looking for a truck to get for himself since he’s there.

The guy’s asking, look, how are you going to afford this?

Like, all the overtime, man.

It’s like, what do you think we’re working the overtime for?

I was like, yeah, that’s like, of course, because if you’re on the job, it’s like, he felt like a real person then, right?

It’s like he humanized him in a way that you don’t often see.

It’s always like the workaholics who are like 24-7 married to their jobs.

Like, no, this guy actually had a loving relationship with his wife, which is another great thing.

Alicia Silverstone is back.

I don’t know what she’s been doing lately, but she’s back here.

I thought it was a great portrayal of a relationship between two people in their 40s, where they were like, you could tell that they were still in love, but they weren’t like all lovey dovey all the time, like a 20 something couple, like newlywed couple would be all over.

It felt like they’d lived with each other for 20 years and knew those ins and outs, knew each other on that level, and there was a shorthand between them.

It was a really compelling portrayal of a really realistic, unbelievable portrayal of a couple in their 40s who’d been together for 20 years.

Yeah, of course.

You get a really good sense of how much they trust each other and their relationship because there is a scene there where he’s coming home and you get this foreboding sense like someone is outside the house because he’s out on a call and her life is that danger.

You’re thinking he’s going to come home and her body is going to be there, but it’s like, no, no.

Oh yeah, I thought they were going to fake out.

Yeah, they sort of like, she has a gun because there’s all this runny water, she shoots the pool as a warning shot to this guy mulling a bit.

Well, I think in a conversation later when they were line dancing, I think she was actually aiming for him and she missed during her explanation.

I thought she said that she shot a warning shot.

Oh, maybe I got it wrong, but I thought it was like, oh no, she was shooting at him and it was a moving target and she missed him and he stopped because he heard the gunshot.

Yeah, that would also make sense too, for sure.

But it was also nice to show that her character wasn’t just some damsel in distress.

Somebody’s coming around my house, she lived with a cop and they’ve been through some stuff already.

His partner had been brought up on corruption charges and she said they had been targeted before.

So she’s been through some stuff as well.

She hears a sound at night, she’s like, no, I’m not going to go to the front door with my hands in my pockets.

I’m coming loaded, right?

But I think it’s also that relationship.

There’s other scenes too, the other one that stood out to me is almost crucial to del Toro’s character here where he plays, it’s so cool all the time, right?

I mean, it’s the top of the meter, but he doesn’t get excited, he doesn’t get frustrated.

It’s like he’s hiding something all the time, like his true reactions.

He’s got a great poker face.

And he probably comes along with the job, but later on, he’s coming downstairs, they’re at the cop party there, the guy’s retirement or whatever it is, I can’t remember what it was, but he comes downstairs and they’re all playing poker, they’re all having a good time, Silverstone is there, his wife is there at the table, and he comes down, no one will notice if he’s being weird or not, but she slowly picks up on him acting differently.

She gives him a little bit of a look, she gives him that little look.

Only a couple who’ve been together for 20 years, she looks at him and is like, oh yeah, something’s not right, and there’s something that passes between them.

Little touches like that that made this, it was frustratingly close to being a great crime thriller.

There were so many little touches like that that I really loved, but yeah, just something a little bit too generic about the overall affair as well.

One of the criticisms I saw online, one of the reviews I read on Letterboxd was that it felt like you took a movie, like a classic crime thriller movie and fed it into an AI bot and had it spit out like a new script, and it’s like that’s kind of what you end up with.

You know what?

Yeah, I can totally see that.

There were a lot of cliches, a lot of familiar tropes, but more than just familiar, it felt like almost retreaded, right?

And I don’t know, I’m just looking at the writers here, and on Letterboxd you have del Toro has a writing credit.

I noticed that as well, yeah.

Grant Singer, the director, has a writing credit, and Benjamin Brewer with a little more experience, it seems, with a couple feature films and writing.

But yeah, it’s like writing was maybe not the standout here.

There’s not like a big veteran here, credited at least.

And Grant Singer, the director, I think this is their feature film debut.

It seems like they’ve done a few other items here, like a lot of music, I think music videos and whatnot, which I think is like a common career path into movies.

And it’s like a lot of our favorite directors started off making music videos, and it’s like maybe their first entries, to be fair, I think this one is a pretty solid entry.

It’s like it’s not a bad movie.

And it’s like future movies are probably just only going to get better from here on out.

It’s like Grant Singer, I think is probably someone to keep an eye on, especially if he sticks around into the crime thriller here.

I would love to see, it would be really interesting to see in 10 years, he came back and like redirected, like remake of this, what it would look like.

I think like the bones of this are really solid.

And that when you said that is like, yeah, this feels almost like somebody like trying to like finding their own voice, right?

They’re kind of, you know, kind of there’s some stumbles, I think, in terms of some of the storytelling and some of the the editing and some of the was really cool.

Like some of the some of the song choices were really neat.

Some of the music choices, music cues like I wish they’d done more with that.

It felt like somebody who was like just a little bit unsure, right?

It’s like it felt like somebody if there was a filmmaker with a bit more confidence, they would have, you know, really played with that with those musical cues a lot more.

Like you look at something like, you know, Martin Scorsese in any of his work, but specifically in Goodfellas and see how his use of music combined with the scenes.

You see that that that confidence in the filmmaker, somebody who had been by that point had been around for several decades and, you know, you know, singer might, you know, probably will develop that.

It’s a matter of confidence and finding out your own style and finding out what works.

That’s only comes through through time, right?

So, yeah, this is not it’s not going to be, I don’t think on my top 10 list this year, but this is a really strong debut film.

I’m not going to lie.

Like this is this is really, really solid.

And like you said, like I’m excited to see where you go.

Like I would be I would love to see him do some more crime thrillers in the future and see how that style evolves and how like that the maturity of that confidence is going to, you know, have a positive effect on his filmmaking going forward.

How did you feel about Justin Timberlake’s role here as acting job?

Is this I mean, he’s been in a decent number of movies, right?

It’s like, is he that should he be in these roles?

Did he do a good job here?

Should we call the movie police on Justin Timberlake?

The movie police, you know, get him in movie jail.

I was dubious the very first time I heard that Justin Timberlake was going to be in anything.

I think I don’t know whether Southland Tales was his first movie he was ever in.

But I remember I was dubious back in the day, but he’s proven himself to be a really, really strong actor.

I mean, you look at him in the social network.


And like, was obviously it was directed by David Fincher, who’s a master.

You know, when you get somebody at that level, it goes a long way towards the acting as well.

But Justin Timberlake’s an accomplished actor.

I liked his role here as a little bit more subdued than a lot of his other roles that I’ve seen him in.

I think that’s where it was kind of throwing me off is that it was pretty subdued.

You expect him to be a bit more out there.

Like some of the other characters he’s played tend to be a bit more boisterous, a bit more bombastic.

A little more animated.

I think he’s got really great comedic timing, too.

You look at some of the SNL digital shorts he did with Andy Samberg and his crew, like Dick in a Box and all that kind of stuff.

And he’s like, yeah, you expect him to be almost more over the top and to see him in a subdued role like this.

I don’t think it was his best role ever, but I think I would like to see him in more roles like this.

I think, yeah, it was really good to see him stretching his acting muscles.

But this guy’s got genuine acting.

He’s one of those people that you kind of hate so much because they’re so talented.

He’s obviously musically talented.

He’s a talented actor.

He’s got the comedic timing.

He’s one of those people who you want to hate him, but he also seems so charming as well.

You can’t even hate him for being so talented.

How about that scene, which turned out to be a dream, where del Toro is now touring the house that the murder happened in?

Because Timberlake is a real estate agent.

His family, they have a whole company here.

He’s giving a tour of the house.

It feels so weird at first because it’s like, del Toro, you’ve been in this house before, but now it’s listed for sale because of the murder.

Clearly, del Toro, he doesn’t care about it being a murder house.

It doesn’t bother him.

How’s the tension of that scene?

How does that scene work for you?

Because when it was a dream sequence, that came to an end and be like, wow, I can’t believe they threw a five minute dream sequence into this movie with that kind of tension.

It felt a little forced.

Whereas, oh man, it’s not like there’s other dream sequences going on here, but I was shocked when he looks up.

They were playing it straight the whole time, yeah.

Playing it real straight and Timberlake shoots him in the gut and be like, in my mind, that happened, that was happening.

I thought it was the climax.

Because the movie was so long, that felt like, okay, this is the time.

It felt in my brain, it’s like, okay, we’re at the time for the climax here, right?

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

But no, it was a-

He just wakes up and we got another hour left on the movie.

To be honest, that scene, and that’s the thing too, that scene built tension so great.

Will Grady, who’s played by Justin Timberlake, it was his wife at the beginning, her murder, who started this whole chain of events.

That’s what Nichols and his partner were investigating, and that’s what led to the uncovering of this whole real estate scheme, where Will Grady and his mom were in bed with the police, where they would plant-

The whole scheme, I like how the whole scheme too-

I’m going off on a tangent here.

The whole scheme was like, it was laid out piece by piece, but there was never an exposition scene where Benicio del Toro and his partner sat down.

It was like, well, they did this and then this, and it laid out the whole scheme.

It was like, you have to pay attention to the whole movie, where the cops, the dirty cops were planting drugs in the house that led them-

There was a law that led them then to have civil forfeiture where they could just seize the house.

And then they partnered with Will Grady and his girlfriend and his mom to sell the houses and turn a profit, and they were all splitting the money.

It was a huge scam.

I like that.

But going back to your question about that scene, that was one of my favorite scenes of the whole movie.

I’m glad you brought that up.

It was a great tension building scene, and it was just so weird.

Nichols was going back.

He knows a murder happened in this place.

He investigated the murder, and now he’s having the real estate agent, who was the husband of the murder victim and a suspect in that murder case as a real estate agent.

There was something so awkward about that, and the tension was building up, and you saw him put the kid’s gun on him, and he had the thumb drive with him, and he’s going to confront him, and it’s like the tension building up, and he goes, and he gets, you know, Justin Timberlake, Will Grady, pulls out the gun and shoots Benicio del Toro.

I thought it was going to be one of those showdowns at the end, where the hero gets shot, and he gets hurt, and they end up both in the hospital or maybe dying.

And when he wakes up in the dream, I’m like, yeah, there are, I was kind of, I had kind of mixed emotions, because there are ways to do dream sequences, and it was all just a dream and make it really, do it really well.

And there are some where it feels kind of cheap, and it’s just a way to kind of, you know, it’s a cheap way to build tension.

And I thought this was somewhere in between those two.

I didn’t feel it was super, super cheap, but I didn’t feel it was really, really effective either.

And that maybe it was just because of the pacing of the film as well, where it’s like, although it’s like the climactic showdown, and he gets shot, he’s like, oh, man, and he’s going to get…

And he’s already sent the files off that prove the whole scam, and he’s going to die, but he’s going to be exonerated in the end.

Everyone’s going to be arrested, who’s involved in the scheme.

It’s like, OK, they’re going for one of those kind of redemptive arcs.

But no, it’s just like, no, he woke up, it was just his anxiety.

I understand what the scene was going for, and the anxieties and the specific psychology of the character that they were trying to bring out, and it’s like, OK, I get it.

But I don’t know, it was in between.

It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, that transition either.

I don’t know, it was a great scene in and of itself, but in the overall, like having it where it was, how it was stitched together, it left something to be desired for me.

That’s pretty fair.

I mean, I think in the greater context, like there’s a lot of good scenes like that.

But obviously in the greater context of the movie that feels overly long and a little convoluted, it doesn’t have that consistency that those scenes would really get to shine.

Because even that scene we mentioned before where he’s coming home, the tension was so real during that.

That was another great scene.

I think that’s the whole thing.

There were so many great scenes in this movie.

It just felt like the way they were trying to piece them together, that’s where it gets lost for me in the editing process.

We’re just like the transition between the scenes or the denouement at the end of a scene.

It felt like things were getting cut short or they’re dragging on a little bit too long.

And I think that’s the kind of thing that obviously you have an editor working on that as well.

The editor and the director are working to varying degrees, collaborating on that pacing.

But again, I feel like that’s something like somebody with a bit more experience, a bit more confidence would be, we’ll cut this scene like five seconds shorter and it makes it entirely completely different.

We’ll use this take, like instead of just having a wide shot, we’ll have an insert of a close up of a face.

And it changes the entire feel or the pace of the scene.

That’s the kind of thing that comes with experience.

I think we’re seeing a lot of raw talent here, but we’re just not tempered by the experience.

So I don’t want to put the film down because I did have a fun time with it.

I always love the thriller and part of the fun of it is trying to figure out the whodunit, right?

And all the different misdirects and red herrings, like, oh, you think it’s the husband’s ex-husband, but although they’re not divorced, you think it’s the current boyfriend.

You think it’s this weird stalker guy named Eli who is just creepy as hell.

Yeah, well, it’s such a huge misdirect.

And he has his finger on the pulse of a lot of things.

And he knows a lot of the cops are corrupt.

And he even calls out the history of del Toro’s cop having, in his involvement with different cover ups that he wasn’t necessarily directly involved in, but he chose to stay silent on.

I like that too when you were talking about Nichols having that poker face, right?

When they’re interviewing Eli, and Eli has obviously done some research on the cops involved in this case.

It’s like, how did you not know that your partner was involved in all this shady stuff for so long?

It’s obviously like, I think what they, maybe I’m wrong.

You can tell me if this is what you got out of it as well.

But Nichols’ partner from his past precinct, he was involved in some illegal goings on.

Nichols wasn’t involved directly, but he knew about it and kept his mouth shut.

It was like that thin blue line kind of thing, right?

Well, I think that was, yeah, for sure, that’s why I got out of it.

I think that was important to understand, too, because for the finish of the movie, he’s unraveling another corrupt cop situation of people he knows and trusts.

Yeah, and this time he’s elected, like he will say something like he’s going to take action instead of staying silent again.

But I think that’s part of his overall character arc for the film.

Okay, so this is what I like.

So the movie is ambiguous enough.

It trusted viewers to like piece these things together.

But that scene where Eli is trying to throw him off guard, right?

Where obviously Nichols hasn’t told his partner there about his whole history.

And you could see Benicio del Toro’s acting is like a master class of acting where you see like, yeah, he’s playing a super cool and super cool.

You can see like it hits him, right?

But he’s like, he’s and you can see like, oh, no, he’s going to ignore that and just like be super calm and cool and collected.

And and answer back to him was like, oh, you see, he’s got his cop face on.

It’s like, that’s really, really cool in terms of character building, but also just like it’s a master class and acting in that one scene just from Benicio del Toro, right?

I don’t think anyone has a better, like subtle poker face in acting Ben del Toro.

He’s got a great face.


There’s so many scenes of him just like reacting to different news, even his partner who I think is not involved in anything.

He’s just like, you know what, I decided I’m going to get married and like del Toro doesn’t get excited.

He doesn’t show anything until he realizes, oh, this is real.

Like this is actually happening.

But he can joke around with the guy.

It’s just like his face, it’s all in his eyes, right?

And the movie definitely knows who they have on board and who they know what they can zoom in.

And there are a lot of close ups there, especially with del Toro and his eyes reacting.

They’re like, oh yeah, that was a smart decision.

It’s about subtlety, right?

It’s like with Benicio del Toro, he can do the bombastic over the top performances, like in Usual Suspects and things like that.

But yeah, like he can do so much.

Like you don’t realize how much is going on with his face or with his eyes.

And so you see like, you know, a B or C class movie, right?

And then you see like kind of workday actors, workaday actors or journeyman actors.

And then you see like somebody like del Toro at the top of his game.

Also got to give props.

We’re talking about acting like Alicia Silverstone.

Like, I don’t know.

I associated her with more kind of the light hearted comedies and like rom coms and stuff back in the day.

And then she was obviously in one of the Batman movies.

Was it Batman, Batman and Robin?

Batman and Robin.

But I was like, it was always like more to see her in this serious role and to see her up against on screen with somebody like del Toro holding her own.

And there were so many little subtleties in her performance as well.

Like you said, in that poker scene when they’re at the bar together at the beginning when they’re doing.

I love how he was like workshopping ideas with her with a case.

And she was like, he was bouncing ideas off of her or just when they were talking about the kitchen stuff or like the one scene because del Toro, you can tell he’s getting a little bit jealous of this younger, good looking contractor who was chatting up his wife and he ends up.

She mentions, I guess, the line dancing nights to this guy.

And this guy shows up or country dance and of its line dancing, but country dancing.

He shows up and he comes over and says hi to del Toro.

And, you know, you know, Alicia Silverstone gets up and walks away and the del Toro, I can’t remember what he says to him.

Is that Peter over there?

A contractor?

Oh yeah.

What’s he doing here?

I might have told him about it.

Well damn, that was a lot more fun than I remembered.

Haven’t done that since I was a kid.


How are you?

I saw the owner of Susu.

Should I tell her about my bags?

Go on.

How’s that, uh, that new kitchen treating you?

You find her attractive?

Which one?

How far would you go?

Excuse me?

Are you willing to die for it?

I don’t know what we’re talking about here, Tom.

You don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about?


Absolutely no idea.

Oh shit, you’re fucking cute.

I’m warning you, man.

Don’t let me fucking catch you.

How’d it go?


Should we hit the floor?

I’m okay.

Peter, you wanna go?

No, I’m gonna sit this one out.

It’s super intimidating.

It’s said in as few words as possible because his wife is walking back at any moment and he just instills fear into this dude with such like, it just does it so well.

And the guy, he’s reacting at first, he’s just like, I don’t know what we’re talking about here.

He’s just like, yes, you do.

And then he continues intimidating.

He was just like, damn.

It was such a great scene where he’s like, I love that.

Where he’s like, he’s not a character like Nicolas Cage’s character.

Like Nicolas Cage would have played that completely differently, probably completely different.

You can see, like you picture Nicolas Cage and something like, was it Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call, New Orleans?

You see him as a cop going nuts.

But Benicio del Toro does it the opposite.

He goes like super subtle, super just like super intense, I think is the word.

It’s just like there’s an intensity.

And the words he uses were super kind of benign.

He never says like, oh, let’s say with my wife or like, I know what you’re trying to do.

I wish I was like, it was just great, super, super subtle.

But the guy at the end, he knows exactly what del Toro is talking about, or what Nichols is talking about.

And you can see like, I love that actor did a great job too.

You see that, I can’t remember the actor’s name, but he does such a great job.

It’s like you’d see in his face.

Was that maybe Thad Luckenbill?

I couldn’t tell.


Yeah, I’m just going through the IMDB right now.

I’m just looking at some of these.

I think that was a dude.

He’s one of those that guys, you’ve seen him in other stuff before.

But yeah, that’s the thing too.

It’s like such another great scene.

But it was just the way that the scenes were stitched together.

There are other great actors as well.

The guy who played Wall-E.

Dominic Lamberdozzi.

I don’t know if I’ve seen him in other stuff.

Who was Wall-E?

Wall-E is the cop who’s starting that separate security company.

He looks like a bulldog.

Big dude, bald, who ends up, he’s one of the bad dude, the corrupt cops who’s in on this whole real estate scheme.

But all these characters, he felt really believable as a 40 something jaded cop who’d seen all this stuff.

You can see, of course, they’re going corrupt because they’ve been doing this for 20 years, and they’re not getting paid huge amounts of money.

They’re going to retire in a small pension.

It’s a small town, a smaller community.

It’s like, yeah, they’re getting jaded.

You can see, it’s like, oh, they didn’t start off probably corrupt.

It’s probably something that happened over time.

They brought some sympathy to these characters.

You see, when they’re all hanging out at those parties with their spouses, I felt like we were just literally eavesdropping.

I felt like I’ve been at some of those parties before.

I felt like a real family gathering with family and friends around.

And just like the way they were interacting, there was a shorthand between some of the actors.

It was like, oh, yeah, this feels like the real lived in universe, real authenticity to those scenes between the characters.

All those side actors, not side actors, supporting actors, I guess.

You’re saying that there was one scene at the end with that poker game, and Captain Alan played by Eric Boghassian.

I’m probably butchering that.

He’s one of those dudes.

I’ve seen him in everything before.

He’s in so much stuff that I could not name, but I know that actor.

But there’s a great scene where there’s this car that was involved in the crime.

They’ve been looking for it.

And Benicio del Toro Nichols goes out to the garage of Captain Alan to get a beer.

And he sees this car and it’s the Cadillac and it’s yellow, but it was I think it was purple.

Yeah, the Chrysler and he opens the hood and he’s pulling like underneath the hood.

They didn’t have time to paint.

So it was purple underneath.

So he finds the car so he knows and then Captain Alan comes out.

So Captain Alan knows that he knows and they know each of them know.

But then when he comes out of the garage again, Captain Alan’s back at the table at deal in the deck.

And Benicio del Toro Nichols walks out.

And he calls across the room, are you in or are you out?

Yeah, it’s a little bit on the nose, right?

Because he knows there’s a double entendre going there.

There’s a deeper meaning.

But it was just, again, that tension scene.

And I love that the characters saying one thing, but meaning another.

And there’s a dialogue going on.

There’s two levels of dialogue going on, even if it was a bit on the nose.

But he keeps asking them, are you in or are you out?

And you know what he’s asking them.

You know, he’s asking them, really, not as he in the poker game, but are you going to be, are you going to like, either A, keep your mouth shut or B, be part of the scheme?

And yeah, just really, really great, great scene, great tension in that scene.

But yeah, it’s all the actors were just like, it was just a great job all around.

And speaking of being a little on the nose at the final, you know, shots of the movie, earlier in the movie, we see del Toro, his character has a wound on his hand, right?

And he has it wrapped throughout most of the movie.


At the very, very end, after everything’s resolved, he’s taking steps to like heal his hand.

And I don’t know what it, I saw it listed somewhere online.

It’s like some kind of thing.

And it’s like he’s peeling off like the second skin that was there to like heal his wound.

And it was just like, there’s the name of the movie right there, Reptile Shedding Its Skin.

It’s like he’s finally, just as he’s decided not to stay silent and complicit in his corrupt crime, his corrupt cop friends, like he’s now able to, I think that wound was like a literal thing where it’s just like, it’s not healing because of the choices he’s made.

Now he’s made the right choice to stop these guys from doing their crime.

And now he’s able to heal on.


I was looking at that online.

Apparently it’s paraffin wax.

Paraffin wax treatment is actually for-

Yeah, that’s it.

I think for treatments like for things like arthritis and things like that, it’s a help strengthen the hand.

So it’s actually like legit treatment.

But yeah, that imagery is obviously ties into the title of the movie where he’s, his old skin is damaged and worn and he’s shedding that old skin.

He’s shedding that old persona.

He’s shedding all that old baggage that he had.

In fact, I saw another thing online where he said the touchless faucet is another indicator.

It’s just like he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty.

He doesn’t want to touch things directly, so he gets a touchless faucet to turn on his water there.

See, I had somebody else who was playing to the whole, like he was getting arthritis or something was in his hands and like, oh, he wants this so he doesn’t have to use the hands a lot.

Because if he didn’t want to get his hands dirty, you’d think he’d want to be able to clean his hands.

Well, he’s able to clean his hands without touching the actual-

Keeps his hands clean of the goings on.

It was also interesting too, it was the final shootout at the end, which I thought was really well done as well.

It was subtle, it wasn’t super over the top.

But also what was your take on Captain Allen telling Benicio del Toro to get out?

Because he tells him when he finds the car, he’s like, it’s not what you think.

So my take on it was that Captain Allen was going along with things because he had no choice because he was afraid for his family and friends.

So he had the car in there and that’s why he told him, oh, it’s not what you think.

So he was playing along like he was in the group, but they knew that Captain Allen really wasn’t one of them.

But what was your take on that whole thing?

Yeah, what I took out of that is that a lot of these guys know they’re doing shady stuff and Captain Allen would probably have a pretty good handle on that.

But he warns del Toro to leave the house because del Toro’s already gone to the higher up guy and given them the evidence.

The chief, yeah, he went to the chief.

The chief, yeah.

The chief is in on it.

And it’s just like that’s news to del Toro and it’s just like, oh my goodness, this goes deeper and it’s like, I think that’s the camaraderie and friendship between those guys.

Because that is just like, you’ve helped me out in the past.

I’m going to help you out right now.

You can still get out of this and just like walk away, right?

And that was just like the last chance for him to do something redeeming because essentially the captain has been helping all of his cop lackeys here do whatever they need to do.

And maybe he’s not like fully invested in it.

Like he’s holding on, like because he mentioned that he’s holding on to the car for somebody else, right?

So I don’t think the captain was necessarily like active in the crime.

It was just like one of the cops who was involved came to him and be like, can you hide this car for me for a couple of weeks, right?

In some way, whether he’s directly involved in the crimes or he’s complicit in the crime and whether or not he’s feeling coerced, he’s still doing that wrong thing.

So from my reading, it was that he was just like, for survival sake, he’s like, hey, we’re all like everybody around him is on the conspiracy.

He’s like, yeah, I’m into because you all have guns and you’re not afraid to use them.

But even if he’s not, even if he’s like, oh no, I’m going to go along with it, just like I’m not going to cause any problems or I’m not going to say anything because I don’t want to know whatever.

Either way, he was complicit in those crimes for sure.

And I think his murder, when he goes up the stairs and the Bulldog cop, I can’t remember his name now, you referred to him as, yeah, he shoots the captain dead.

And immediately there, it’s like, you know, the pecking order, the captain is not on top.

Or else he’s not leading this.

It’s like this Bulldog, he’s answering to somebody else in this corruption.

And I think it’s the chief there for sure.

I think Will Grady and his mom, they were at the top of that scheme, right?

Yeah, that was a great scene.

The little touches, somebody I was reading online, somebody pointed out, it’s funny, his wife, Judy, Alicia Silverstone, she helps identify the make and model of the car because she said, oh, I drove one like that when I was younger.

It’s like somebody said, oh, that’s probably the same car, right?

Because it’s a small town, small community.

It was probably like her uncle’s car at one point that she was driving around or got sold.

Not only did she drive a car like that, that probably was the car she drove when she was a kid.

Yeah, that’s a good point.

Maybe even the car she lost her virginity in.

That’s part of the mythology.

Oh, my goodness.

So we use a five star rating system around here with a possible heart like on top of that, which is modeled after the Letterbox site, which is where we log all of our movies.

So out of five stars, where do you land on Reptile?

Yeah, my initial rating was three out of five.

Three to five stars on this.

I was teetering.

I was on the brink of giving it like three and a half, which to me is like anything like three and a half and above is kind of like, you know, the two and a half to three is kind of like middle range or mediocre.

Three and a half and above is like three and a half to four is like good to really, really good.

And it was just like it was on the verge a couple times.

But it was just it needed a bit more polished.

It needed to be like if there was more going on during that runtime, this is where people talk about.

There’s been a huge conversation recently in our culture about the runtimes of movies, right?

Specifically with you look at, you know, yeah, Oppenheimer recently and Killers of the Flower Moon with like three, three and a half hour runtimes and people are complaining.

And I think people pointed out rightly on online that it’s not the length of the movie, the movie that matters.

It’s how you’re using that time.

Yeah, right.

If you are using that time efficiently and effectively.

And this definitely felt like there was a little bit more fat that could have been cut or had that time used kind of more effectively to explore some of the characters or go into more depth about the case, build that tension or maybe or cut it down to make it a solid hour and a half, 90 minute thriller.

But it was like it was on the verge for me.

It was on the verge for me of greatness a bunch of times, but I just I couldn’t.

It didn’t quite affect me that way.

But how about you?

What was your grade out of five there, Brian?

I ended up at three and a half on this movie.

There you go.

Like you, I was like waffling between three and three and a half.

It was definitely not venturing towards four.

If there was like a true new numeric rating on it, it’s probably like 3.25.

It’d be like, let’s just round up for this one.

Because honestly, the performances like Benicio here, I just love watching them in these movies.

One of the issues I had was I couldn’t stop thinking about Sicario while I’m watching this movie.

I kept watching for these scenes of tension and be like, oh man, no movie.

This is not anywhere near the level that Sicario is reaching its tension.

You’re talking about having that dread, that sense of dread throughout an entire runtime.

Sicario does it.

Every scene has a bit of intrigue in it and danger that Reptile doesn’t.

Even when they’re looking, for some reason I’m just thinking of, he’s looking at the big truck and thinking about buying the truck.

I thought they’re going to close the door and maybe have a little conversation, but it was just like, oh, this car salesman is maybe in on it.

He’s acting a little shady or something.

But no, they’re just looking for personal reasons on this vehicle.

It keeps deflating itself from that tension that is really, I think, beautifully brought up in a few different scenes.


The whole church scene, when he goes there, that seems like a whole scene could have been cut.

It didn’t add anything to the movie at all.

But there could have been so much more going on in that scene that would be like, oh, they just found the paint.

It was just like, who is this guy he’s talking to?

Maybe they’re going to talk to more people.

Yeah, but the whole tension in that scene could have been ratcheted up, too.

It was like, this is the thing for all the other scenes that had great tension.

And you have something like that.

It was like, this should have been super tense.

And the way they were filming it with his head kind of up close in the shot, blocking the door, and then he moves.

I was like, there should have been more menace there.

It felt more like I always come back to Fincher, Zodiac when Jake Gyllenhaal is in the basement of that dude’s house.

And you hear the floorboards squeaking upstairs.

And that to me is like that’s scarier than most horror movies, the entirety of most horror movies, just because of the tension you’re feeling there.

And there was a couple opportunities where they could have had that level of tension.

Yeah, and it didn’t work.

One scene that keeps, we mentioned a few times is the dream sequence.

And the one shot that I keep thinking about after the movie is when they’re in the basement.

Del Toro is on the right hand side of the screen and he’s kind of like leaning against the wall, while Justin Timberlake’s character is kind of talking about the house, but he already knows the house and he’s trying to sell to him by like half-heartedly.

And it just lingers on them just well, long enough.

It’s just like, what is Del Toro thinking here?

Is he going to confront them right now?

Is he going to go upstairs?

What is he going to do next?

And then Timberlake is just like, you want to see the upstairs?

He’s just like, yeah.

They just walk upstairs and be like.

Yeah, I had actually forgotten about that.

That’s what that sequence was so long.

They didn’t just go right upstairs.

They went down the basement first and they were looking.

He was like, yeah, that’s why it fell off to me.

That’s why I felt like it felt too real.

Like if it was a dream sequence, you probably wouldn’t have had those moments.

In a movie, you wouldn’t cut it like that, right?

Maybe, yeah.

It just felt, yeah, I don’t know.

Yeah, there’s something a little bit that could have been tighter as well or could have done something to ratchet up that tension.

That’s where you need an insert on their face and to see what’s going on in their eyes, right?

Maybe that would have helped to show that somebody had a weapon or something beforehand, or have them say something super shady.

I don’t know.

There’s a lot of room for a brubit in here.

The big takeaway for me is just solid film, great acting from some of the leads here.

Yeah, definitely would recommend if you’ve listened this far and haven’t watched the movie, it’s worth checking out.

One of the things we do talk about is how this movie ranks in its ratings around the world here, around a couple of different sites.

Let’s put Nathan to his-

Let’s do it.

Let’s see here, Ron Tomatoes, the critic rating, they go 0 to 100, they use a percent scale.

What is the Ron Tomatoe critic rating on Reptile?

Go 68.



It’s not a master work or master class in film making, but it’s not that bad.

Come on, critics.

Audience rating?

I’m going to guess higher, I’m going to, okay, higher than 44.

Let’s go like 65.

65 is close.

It’s 71% audience score.

IMDB, they use the 10 point system.

What’s its users average?

I’m going to say 3.1.


No, out of 10.

So 3.1 is 7.2.

Let’s say you said 7.2.

Yeah, I think it’s five.

I think I jumped ahead to Letterboxd.

No, I’ll say in that case, 5.7.

5.7, it’s close.

Well, you’re a full point off.

It’s 6.8 on my end so far.

It’s higher than I thought.

Yes, the Letterboxd, I’m guessing you’re just going to say 3.1.

3.1, yeah.

Yeah, Letterboxd average is a 3.0 right now.

So pretty much, if you want to talk about mediocrity, maybe this movie is a prime example of it.

It’s good.

Yeah, down the wire.

I think I wanted so much to like it.

I wanted so much to love it.

I thought it was going to be another kind of Diamond in the Rough on Netflix, and it turned out to be more in line with the standard kind of Netflix.

This is exactly the kind of movie when you think about Netflix original, this is exactly the kind of movie you’re thinking about where it’s just like, it feels like almost they’re patting their library.

Yeah, in that context, I forgot it was a Netflix original because I’m just so used to, the Netflix originals that are targeted towards me are those big dumb action movies with all the hottest stars in it, right?

Like Red Notice and whatnot, it was just like.

Well, this was miles better than Red Notice.

Yeah, that’s why this one, it felt like a little like, oh, maybe this could have been on a different platform.

Maybe I’ll modify my statement, maybe this wasn’t like this.

It was a little bit higher, a little bit better in quality than your standard mediocre Netflix fare.

If you’re looking at like, if Red Notice is like the standard of like, this is what if like you’re saying, if the Netflix AI and corporate goons got together and wrote a movie, that would be Red Notice and this is miles better than Red Notice.



Like what AI would have thought to bring del Toro, Timberlake, and Silverstone together as like the main leads on this movie.

I don’t think any AI would have guessed that, like especially Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro would have like that, like connection and chemistry on screen to represent like a pretty real-

Apparently, they were in a movie together before back in the 2000s and apparently, they dated briefly before.

I did look that up after, I looked up their ages because it’s just like how old, I think there’s a nine-year difference between the two of them.

Which isn’t crazy.

They were actually playing their ages actually.

So that’s actually kind of cool where it’s not like, you don’t have like the 50-year-old dude with some 22-year-old kid and it’s like, oh my God.

They felt and looked like, I’m not saying that they looked quote unquote old, but they looked their ages, right?

They looked like people who were comparable ages, who should be dating each other and not some old creepy dude dating a 20-year-old or 18-year-old like they usually have in these movies.


I think that’s a wrap.

That’s a wrap.

As always, we appreciate you hanging out with us today and taking the time to listen to our podcast.

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