Review: ‘Strictly Confidential’ (2024), starring Elizabeth Hurley, Georgia Lock, Lauren McQueen, Freddie Thorp, Genevieve Gaunt, Pear Chiravara, Max Parker and Llyrio Boateng

April 30, 2024

by Carla Hay

Pear Chiravara, Max Parker, Elizabeth Hurley, Genevieve Gaunt and Freddie Thorp in “Strictly Confidential” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

“Strictly Confidential”

Directed by Damian Hurley

Culture Representation: Taking place in 2022, on an unnamed Caribbean island, the dramatic film “Strictly Confidential” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few black people and one Asian person) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A wealthy widow summons the friends of her presumed-dead daughter for a reunion on an exotic island, and scandalous secrets are revealed during this gathering. 

Culture Audience: “Strictly Confidential” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching tacky movies with horrible acting and a stupid plot.

Elizabeth Hurley in “Strictly Confidential” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

“Strictly Confidential” looks like a parody of a bad movie, but it’s unfortunately no joke. This horrendous drama, which has a tawdry plot about privileged people with sordid secrets, is a time-wasting failure for everyone involved. Perhaps the only saving grace for this train-wreck film is that the movie’s exotic island locations are attractive. The cast members are all good-looking people, but those good looks mean nothing when there’s a lack of talent or personality in their performances.

Written and directed by Damian Hurley, “Strictly Confidential” (his feature-film directorial debut) was literally paid for by his mother, Elizabeth Hurley, who is one of the movie’s producers and is the biggest star of this garbage film. If not for nepotism, it’s very unlikely that “Strictly Confidential” would have ever been made. “Strictly Confidential” is not a “so bad it’s funny” movie. It’s a “so bad it’s torturous to watch” movie.

In “Strictly Confidential” (which takes place in 2022), Elizabeth Hurley portrays Lily Lowell, a wealthy widow who has had a very rough past year. In 2021, her husband Thomas died, at the age of 51. Within months of his death, her daughter Rebecca (played by Lauren McQueen, seen in flashbacks), who was 21 or 22, disappeared into an ocean at their Caribbean island home and is presumed dead. Rebecca left behind an apparent suicide note. Her body was never found.

Lily lives in a mansion on this island, which is not named in the movie. (“Strictly Confidential” was filmed in St. Kitts and Nevis.) It’s implied that this mansion is one of the homes that Lily has. Lily’s other child is Rebecca’s older sister Jemma (played by Genevieve Gaunt), also in her 20s, who had a rivalry with Rebecca and seems jealous that Rebecca got more attention from their parents.

Even in death, Rebecca is still getting more attention than Jemma. Lily has decided to summon all of Rebecca’s friends who were on the island during the summer that Rebecca apparently drowned in the ocean. Lily has invited these friends to stay at the mansion for one week to pay tribute to Rebecca. Jemma tells Lily that this reunion isn’t a good idea.

Lily replies, “It’s been a year. After next week, you never have to see them again. Maybe it’ll give us some closure. God knows, we can all use some.”

Lily has enlisted Rebecca’s best friend Mia (played by Georgia Lock) to track down everyone and tell them to go to the mansion. Mia is seen in the beginning of the movie having a nightmare about Rebecca—one of several of Mia’s bad dreams depicted in the movie—because Mia witnessed Rebecca disappear in the ocean. Mia has a lot of unresolved issues about Rebecca because Mia firmly believes that Rebecca did not commit suicide. During her time on the island, Mia conducts her own “investigation” to find out what happened to Rebecca.

One by one, the people in Rebecca’s social circle gather at the mansion. Natasha (played by Pear Chiravara) is an exotic dancer who reluctantly agreed to this reunion after Mia showed up at Natasha’s nightclub workplace to invite her. Will (played by Max Parker) is the boyfriend Rebecca had when Rebecca disappeared. James (played by Freddie Thorp) is Mia’s ex-boyfriend, who is described by Will as an “intense, weird psycho.”

There are also some locals on the island who seem to be there as “tokens” in small, supporting roles. Sebastian (played by Llyrio Boateng), who likes to walk around in a Speedo, is literally only in the movie to be a “rescuer” to “damsels in distress.” During Mia’s “investigation,” Mia meets a psychotherapist named Catherine Isaac (played by Agi Nanjosi), who had Rebecca as a client. You can easily guess what happens when Catherine gets a visit from Mia at Catherine’s home office, and Catherine briefly leaves Mia alone in a room with unlocked file cabinets.

“Strictly Confidential” is ostensibly a mystery thriller about what happened to Rebecca, but the movie spends most of its time stringing together a bunch of terribly acted scenes where the characters in the main ensemble have sex-related secrets revealed about them. For example, Lily has been having a torrid affair with one of the invited guests, and this affair was going on before Lily’s husband Thomas died. (The “Strictly Confidential” trailer reveals who this person is.) The movie’s sex and kissing scenes for this secret affair look very fake and awkward.

Lily’s adulterous affair is supposed to make viewers wonder if Thomas died of natural causes or if he was murdered. After all, Lily inherited everything from Thomas. There are other betrayals and lies that get exposed in the story. There’s even a badly staged showdown taking place on a cliff, where at least one person inevitably falls off of the cliff.

“Strictly Confidential” tries to have a retro tone that’s partly like “Dynasty” (scheming wealthy people) and partly like “Red Shoe Diaries” (softcore erotica), but it’s all just a weak imitation that falls flat. “Strictly Confidential” is very muddled and nonsensical, while the characters are completely hollow and boring. And just when you think things couldn’t get any worse in “Strictly Confidential,” the ending of the movie has a poorly conceived “reveal” that raises more questions that are never answered. That’s assuming most viewers who have the patience to watch all of this trashy movie will still care by the time the “Strictly Confidential” stumbles to its uninspired and idiotic ending.

Lionsgate released “Strictly Confidential” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and on VOD on April 5, 2024.

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