Monday, May 5, 2014

Favor: Movie Review

Well-written characters debating success, friendship and murder.
Friends help friends get rid of dead bodies, right? Or, so asks the film “Favor”. Kip (Blayne Weaver) is a successful, happily married man (or at least a married man) who has been seeing a waitress and after a disagreement, he accidentally kills her. Kip calls on his old friend Marvin (Patrick Day) to help him out. Things don’t go very well, but that’s mostly based on the characteristics of these two men. 2013

Directed by: Paul Osborne

Screenplay by: Paul Osborne

Starring: Blayne Weaver, Patrick Day

Kip (Blayne Weaver) about to ask Marvin (Patrick Day) for a big FAVOR."
What I primarily like about this movie is that it’s a character-driven thriller. After the dark beginning, it wasn’t a plot-driven thriller, but like a character study the characteristics of these two very different men started coming out and evolving over the course of the film. Through the successful Kip, the unsuccessful Marvin and one dead body, the film explores dichotomic themes of haves versus have-nots, old friends versus good friends and how to get what you want versus earning what you want.

The film also interestingly navigates through the characteristics with flipping sympathies and I went from siding with Marvin to siding with Kip, back to Marvin, to Kip and back and forth for the entire length of the film. I don’t where I wanted up, but I would at least call that good character writing. The ending itself approaches more typical thriller or even horror endings (the latter of which this film sometimes gets categorized as, even though it shouldn’t), and I didn’t really enjoy the ending, but upon further reflection after everything these characters have gone through, there’s only so many more places they can go. So I have to begrudgingly accept that it probably is a good ending.

Marvin (Patrick Day) confronts his deeds in FAVOR."
It’s a very minimalistic film – minimal background, minimal score, minimal characters and locations. It fits the indie genre well, but it could be a turn off for some viewers not used to that. The acting and dialogue was quite stilted at times, especially the beginning, but it ended up not being too big a problem because the characters and their actions were larger than any of these issues.

I recommend “Favor” for fans of character-driven thrillers. The type of film where you take one inciting incident, two different characters, and then start exploring what these characters are really like and what they’re going to do. If you don’t get into the characters, then that could be problematic, but the basic haves-versus-have-nots character arcs is a good starting point.
Best Lesser-known of 2014

Similar Titles:

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) - Stark and brutal but this is the paramount of independent filmmaking.

Arbitrage (2012) - Intelligence of a character study and the intrigue of a thriller.

At Any Price (2012) - A small character study that doesn’t lead to anything as interesting as it should.