Faults (15) | Home Ents Review
Dir. Riley Stearns, US, 2014, 89 mins
Cast: Leland Orser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lance Reddick, Jon Gries
Dark, quiet and eerie, the film, especially in the first half, looks and feels like a Fargo-era Coen Brothers film. However, to this Faults adds more twists, turns and flips then the conventional slow-reveal techniques usually employed within films like this.
With leads Leland Olsen (Se7en and Taken) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Final Destination and Scott Pilgrim vs The World), Faults plays out as an exploration of the validity of brainwashing, free will and deprogramming regarding cult behaviour as Ansel (Olsen) attempt to prize Claire (Winstead) from the jaws of her cult.
Faults is near excellent in moving away from a strict study of the inner workings of the cult from enigmatic leader down to dutiful follows; instead choosing to focus on the process of the regeneration of lost identity for both characters.
In Faults there are important lessons to be learned for both deprogrammer and patient as Stearns takes audiences on an explorative journey into each character’s psychology.
Faults, for all of its faults, is a very interesting and subtle thriller. A character study of the strangest kind that keeps audiences in limbo for the most part of the film; bolstered by the intelligent, pitch-perfect performances from Orser and Winstead.
Winstead with her best calm ‘I promise I’m not crazy’ face as she proceeds to discuss the immense power of prayer and meditation that has allowed her to achieve invisibility, thus the ability to walk through walls.
Orser’s Ansel, the washed up best-selling author is equally compelling; a man whose face you instantly recognise despite feigning to recall any other appearances he has made in both TV and film despite how high profile the film may have been, Orser is one half of a captivating duo who are both seeking some sought of redemption for previous transgressions.
Despite this however Faults is far from perfect, lacking a few vital ingredients to make it truly engrossing.
Faults is a melodramatic film treated to a muted visual style, with Stearns choosing to contrast the dramatic events of with precise singular cinematography that does not overload its audiences. Because of this, Faults becomes all the more gripping, developing into a much more intensified reflection about the fragile human condition and wish fulfillment in the form of spiritual salvation by any means, even at the cost of personal identity and autonomy.
Hypnotic in a handful of its sequence, this cryptic, muted game of cat-and-mouse will undoubtedly be intriguing to those interested in cult behaviour, as reverse psychology is the name of the game here.
Review by Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark
Faults will premiere on demand only in the UK and will be available from 07 September on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon instant video, Blinkbox, Filmflex/Virgin, Wuaki, Googleplay, Sky and Sony.