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STUDIO Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME 91 Minutes
• Alternate Ending
Without the security of the job he wants or the future he dreamed of, Paul Dynan, plans the perfect crime to help his struggling family — extort a fortune from three wealthy men. The plan: to abduct their socialite children and collect a healthy ransom of $3-million dollars. Over the course of one long night, Paul and his accomplices hold the rich kids hostage awaiting the $3-million ransom with little idea of the secrets that will surface between the fathers when they are forced to choose between their children and their money. Once blood is shed and things go horribly wrong, Paul must fight to stay one step ahead of his own twisted game.
Aaron Woodley (Director) Kevin Zegers, Ray Liotta,Dustin Milligan, Laura Vandervoort
A direct to video hostage film where a smart college kid tries to ripoff a rich Ray Liotta and friends
One of the challenges a lot of writers face is getting the audience into the mind of the lead character. While some artists choose unique visual imagery to simulate the thought process, some choose to let the story unfold so the character can use actions to connect the dots and the lazy writers utilize voice overs. Not all voice overs are bad, my favorite being Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, which easily enhanced the movie without being a crutch for shortening the story telling. More often than not a voice over chooses to tell the story and not enhance it. Enter The Entitled. This is a movie that has at least 15 of its roughly 90 minutes consumed by Kevin Zegers doing a possible literal phone in performance. In the first 10 minutes I think only 10 lines are spoken by characters on the screen. Everything else is to tell you Zegers has had a difficult life that pushed him into doing something bad.
Last I checked, most criminals don’t get glory for doing bad things. They may benefit from a smart crime, but if the character has any tie into reality than they are not able to tell anybody without the risk of being convicted or turned into the victim of a violent retaliation crime. It’s not a life of glory, maybe excitement, but not glory. So that typically means that a character doesn’t have to explain this is not their first choice of what to do with their life. Better movies may have defined a scenario where the character is not in a stable position in life and an opportunity begins to present itself, but this is The Entitled. Why it takes 10 minutes to explain that I don’t know. I believe I just did it in less words than the movie did.
Before the story can start rolling though, Zegers sick mother is shown to enforce what he just said. There is no definition on what her fatal and expensive disease is, and the absence of the father is so obvious to pop up later in the film that they might as well have put a big question mark on the screen.
The very next scene I think is a deleted scene from Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers with less nudity. A somewhat promiscuous blonde coed snorts some coke, plays hard to get with her boyfriend while telling him he’s boring and then flirts with his best friend. The obvious young incarnation of Hugh Hefner with two bunnies on his lap return flirts with his best friend’s girl. These are the over the top stereotypical rich snobs that no sane person feels compassion for.
As the rest of the cast is introduced, the short and shallow pawns double by adding the other criminals. More stereotypes created in typical Hollywood design. The nerdy unattractively hot She’s All That girl that is one pair of glasses away from being a prom queen and the mentally unstable technogeek who has no regard for human life, his or anyone else.
The older cast is the only place where the writing doesn’t take the easy way out, using characters that are flawed, original and obviously improvised by the veterans. It is their parts that turn the pace of the film and make it watchable. They don’t turn it into anything great, but the depth their characters add allow the movie to dig itself out of the hole setup by the voice overs, the stereotypes and the over Hollywoodization.
This review is slanted in content toward the beginning of the film just as much as the film itself. Once the film gets past the slow opening it becomes a fun movie up until the very end. Very predictable at times (you can see the answer to where the father has been from a mile away) and time challenged (how does it take Zegers the same amount of time to reach the gas station as four other people, particularly when he travels by car on marked roads and the others are in the woods without a compass and if attempting to match their stereotypes they would have absolutely no thorough forest navigation experience) but still enjoyable. I can think of both better and worse films in the genre, but for seasoned film lovers it just comes across as lazy.
Very minimal special features. The trailer and 4 minutes and 30 seconds to add a 45 second add on to the end of the film, which they call an alternate ending. My biggest complaint about the alternate ending other than sitting through 4 minutes with poor audio and no other changes before getting to the extra segment, is that the extra segment would have instantly improved the movie. It takes away the perfect ending and puts a flaw into it. A flaw that is foreshadowed earlier but without the scene it could have gone either way (I just put it up to lazy writing once again) but with the extra scene it still leaves a question but converts it from a possible writing flaw to a purposeful plot device.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars