WHAT I LIKED: It may have an interesting plot about an undercover cop (Joel Edgerton) befriending a murderer (Sean Harris) to convict him, but 'The Stranger,' is first and foremost a contemplative character study. Director Thomas M Wright is more interested in the personal affects of these relationships on the people involved than the process of law, and we know this because he spends the majority of the film with his camera inches away from their respective faces; studying them at home and together to see their mistrust evolve into friendship, and in particular, the inevitable toll that the double-life take on the cop. That gives it a melancholy, Michael Mann kind of edge to the film, and ultimately makes for a fascinating character study set around a highly compelling central narrative.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: After a while, we empathise entirely with the two of them, and a lot of time is then spent making the same points over and over. Indeed, where Mann is a master of atmospheric suspense, Wright often fails to build tension in moments that could, and arguably should, be laced with terror.
VERDICT: Though 'The Stranger,' does arguably outstay its welcome, it's an admirably quiet character study based around a compelling narrative.