Best films to watch on Netflix: Jarvis Cocker's star turn as beleaguered rat in animated feature The House

Sheffield’s Jarvis Cocker is no stranger to film but he stretches his acting chops further than ever in Netflix’s darkly humorous animated feature The House.

By Robert Cumber
Monday, 21st March 2022, 4:45 pm

After small roles in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fantastic Mr Fox and The French Dispatch, the former Pulp frontman takes centre stage in this unsettling but intriguing offering from the streaming giant.

The House is effectively three short films set across three different eras in the same building, where a family falls under the spell of a malevolent spirit, a developer watches his big dreams slowly unravel and a frustrated landlady fails to see the bigger picture in an apocalyptic future.

Jarvis voices the rat in the second of those three tales, who is agonisingly close to completing the regeneration he hopes will make him his fortune when some unwanted visitors put a spanner in the works.

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Jarvis Cocker and his character in Netflix film The House (pics: Netflix and Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

It’s a slow-burner, in which the growing sense of uneasiness builds like a fog, penetrated by flashes of humour, and what starts off as a cosy fable about capitalism becomes increasingly jagged.

Your sympathy wavers throughout between Jarvis’ rodent developer and the ‘fur beetles’ who become his nemeses.

Jarvis strikes exactly the right note with his understated performance as a character close to the edge who begins to feel the world is against him but has perhaps miscalculated exactly what the world owes him.

The film as a whole, in which each strand is helmed by a different director, has echoes both in its sensibilities and aesthetic of Jarvis’ erstwhile collaborator Wes Anderson.

The House. (L to R) Sven Wolter as Odd Man, Jarvis Cocker as The Developer, Yvonne Lombard as Odd Woman in THE HOUSE. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

And while it lacks the frenetic inventiveness of Anderson’s best work, it’s a beguiling watch.

The House. Jarvis Cocker as The Developer in The House. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021