Mashups

Sunday Mashup (The Benefactor and Misconduct Reviews)

I have Sunday off so let’s watch some Blu-Rays!

The Benefactor

A wealthy man named Franny (Richard Gere) feels responsible for the deaths of two married friends Mia (Cheryl Hines) and Bobby (Dylan Baker), leading him to ingratiate himself into the lives of their daughter Olivia (Dakota Fanning) and her husband Luke (Theo James). But their friendship takes a dark turn when he grows obsessed with the couple.

This film moved at a brisk pace so we never really got a sense of the relationship between Franny (Gere) and his two friends Mia (Hines) and Bobby (Baker) other than a rather quick scene at the beginning of the film. Despite that, he still feels guilty for their death so he becomes a little too attached to their daughter Olivia (Fanning) and her husband Luke (James). Not only does the film have to deal with those problems, after the accident in which Franny survives, he has now developed an addiction to morphine and other various painkillers.

It’s funny because the film seemingly has a lot going on, it never really goes anywhere with anything. The film’s relatively short running time, clocking in at 93 minutes, doesn’t quite help either. The plot just felt a little too all over the place, often shifting from one thing to another without covering anything with any depth. Not only did the plot feel too all over the place, so did Gere’s performance as Franny. Some may say that it’s just range but it’s rather just inconsistency with the writing. These changes did not seem fueled by anything in particular. Regardless, Franny was not a very likeable character. His over the top performance came off more on the annoying side than anything else.

Because his over the top performance, he basically stole every scene he was in. This wasn’t exactly the best thing as since his performance took all the attention, it took away from Olivia and Luke, hurting them with their character development. The film just focused a little too much on Franny and his own personal struggles instead of giving some time to Olivia and Luke. We fail to see the other side of Franny’s obsession other than with his overbearing relationship with Luke.

It’s kind of hard to judge the performances here since the writing is just so bad. The characters aren’t really characters here as they felt more like shells so it made them hard to care about. Beyond Gere, no one really had a chance to contribute anything of value here. Because of the film’s inconsistency and holes in the plot, the first 2/3 of the film felt rushed which then made the last 1/3 feel wrapped up a little too nicely which made it lack any credibility.

Overall, this film started off with potential but fell apart fairly quickly into an incoherent mess. Not even the performances could have saved it.

Score: 5/10

Misconduct

A lawyer named Ben Cahill (Josh Duhamel) attempts to bring an unethical pharmaceutical executive named Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins) to justice for manipulating drug trials, but his case is soon undermined when he is targeted by a blackmail scheme involving an extramarital affair.

This doesn’t exactly happen everyday, a film starring two film legends in Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino. What took them so long? They probably should have waited for something better. Here Pacino plays Charles Abrams, a more senior lawyer and a mentor to Duhamel’s Cahill. Cahill is an ambitious lawyer who is willing to bend the rules a little in order to get his way. After running into one of his former girlfriends named Emily (Malin Akerman), he stumbles on to the case of a lifetime when she has information that could bring an unethical pharmaceutical executive named Arthur Denning (Hopkins) to justice.

Things are a little more complicated than this as this case creates a chain of events involving conspiracy after conspiracy which does get a little hard to follow after a while. Cahill must build a case despite the fact that some may discover his questionable nature and he must also face other opposition from a shady character known only as “The Accountant” (Byung-hun Lee). He must also repair his relationship with his wife Charlotte (Alice Eve).

The good thing, or bad thing, is that whether or not you know what’s going on, you’ll always be greeted by some of the most generic, cliche suspenseful piano music. The intensity of the music would either increase or decrease depending on the scene’s suspense. Also the film used it way too much, often at times when it wasn’t needed. It’s intensity often distracted from what was happening on screen.

As the film went on with all of its twists and turns, it was all just a little too confusing and also didn’t really make much sense as things started connecting. Even with that, the base plot was pretty simple and something we’ve all seen before but the film tried to stretch it out into some more complex film which just didn’t work. Because of this and the music, this just came off as pretentious and derivative seeing that it was ripping off many better suspense/thriller films.

The acting wasn’t that great either as everything just seemed a little subdued and robotic which definitely did not inspire excitement. Duhamel was okay but his seriousness was laughable. Hopkins and Pacino are the textbook definition of phoning it in. No one else really stood out here. There wasn’t much excitement here as the first 2/3 of the film was on the slow side but as the plot sped up, the film just became more convoluted and silly trying to tie things back up again.

Overall, a film which had a lot of potential and decent actors was just wasted with a bad story, bad acting, pretty much everything was bad here.

Score: 4/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.

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