Thursday, May 21, 2015

Faults Review

Ansel Roth is one of the top experts in the world on mind control. Claire's mind is in the hands of a mysterious new cult called Faults, a group we know nothing about beyond their name. Claire's parents just want their baby girl back home safe. 

Ansel Roth may be an expert, but his life seems to not follow a path guided by expertise. He stands in front of a lackluster gathering of people who were just curious enough to attend a seminar but not desperate enough to actually buy his book. He is in debt in the worst sort of way, the kind that does not hassle you with notices in the mail but rather with very real and scary threats from the kind of people you don't want threatening you. He is promised one free meal and a single night in a hotel room but he is caught trying to take two of each. 

Ansel Roth is unstable and yet he is approached with the hope that he could bring stability to the lives of others. The offer is lucrative and money is precisely what he needs, but the nature of the work is not only unappealing, it is literally illegal. He is to kidnap their daughter, a beautiful young girl named Claire who left everything behind in order to devote her life to Faults. He is to bring her back to a hotel room and keep her there until normalcy is restored, but there is nothing normal about such an idea. 

What exactly will occur inside that room? How long will it take before a family becomes whole again? What happens if Ansel Roth fails to complete the task?

Faults is the debut feature film from writer/director Riley Stearns, the real life husband of Mary Elizabeth Winstead who expertly plays the role of Claire here, and the craft on display throughout is simple and minimalist but handled with intelligence and confidence. It's creepy. It's dark. It's funny. It's weird, in the type of way I typically embrace. Along with Winstead, Leland Orser absolutely knocks it out of the park as the troubled Ansel. Watching these two perform in the same frame was a treat.

The irony is delicious that Ansel Roth was hired to convince a girl like Claire that her life, her happiness, her normalcy can all be found at home with her family rather than with a cult because Ansel himself would make quite the candidate to be brainwashed by such a group himself. He is a man who is in search of all the things Claire has found since joining Faults. Before long you can see the tide change in the film and you wonder, who is really doing the convincing? Who is doing the manipulating?

Not every moment lands masterfully but Faults will keep you on your toes throughout and it is certain to throw some final act twists at you that you (hopefully) never saw coming. Riley Stearns specifically pointed to filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen brothers as those whose work inspired him. I can't wait to see what else he is capable of going forward.


No comments:

Post a Comment