Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Entitled: Movie Review

Rich kids, poor kids, their parents, and all their attitudes locked in a house.

A group of under-privileged kids starving for money and attention; a group of over-privileged kids starving for action and attention; a group of over-privileged adults trying to be content with their current state of life. That’s The Entitled. One group wants what the others have and the others just plain want. If you want an intelligent, thought-out thriller, you’ve got it. 2011

Directed by: Aaron Woodley

Screenplay by: William Morrissey

Starring: Kevin Zegers and Ray Liotta

The film starts out a little pedestrian and juvenile with pointless scenes and then a few scenes continuously pointing out that our main hero was poor. But as it turns out, those scenes weren’t pointless or over-done, you just had to wait until the end to figure it out. Everything contributes to the final result.

Our main hero is Paul Dynan (Kevin Zegers) — broke, jobless, defeated, and almost option-less. A last ditch effort to save his mother and their house, he abducts three local rich kids, uses two misfit friends to torture them, and tries to get money out of their fathers.

The brilliant aspects of this film which they did so well were the different relationship dynamics. The group of rich, entitled kids consisted of two males and one female. One couple but all three were friends. The group of poor, angry kids was exactly the same (just minus the money). The three fathers had the same relationships that their kids had, just a taller, older version.

Continuing in the vein of brilliant relationship dynamics, the plot of the kidnapping was propelled forward by how everybody acted within their own group. Apparently the key to a successful crime (or not successful) is knowing how all the individuals will act. The key to a successful crime thriller is making sure that your characters act in interesting ways.

The lead acting was very impressive, just as I was frequently in awe of how impressively smart the turns were in this thriller, I was amazed by how natural and creepy Zegers could be. Ray Liotta and the two other actors playing the fathers were equally as arresting.

The minor actors couldn’t overcome the sometimes awkward and painful dialogue. Now don’t get me wrong, the screenplay by William Morrissey is actually pretty good story-wise, he just doesn’t give a good voice to the over-privileged, entitled rich kids. But then again, who does? I still think the opening sequences could have been tightened up to help me realize how important they actually are to the story. But above all else, The Entitled made me think and I like watching films about some characters who do think and some characters who don’t think. And I’ll let you figure out which groups they belong to.

Similar Titles:

Side Effects (2013) - Morally ambiguous characters in a deceptive, complex thriller plot.

The Call (2013) - Emotional, dramatic thriller that keeps it together despite some ridiculous antics.

Retreat (2011) - A tight, gripping indie thriller devolving into blood-soaked conspiracies.

Columbus Circle (2012) - The plot of crimes moves along quickly but leaves the characters behind.

Limitless (2011) - A limitless source of stupidity.