Image Courtesy of eOne Films.
Dir: Aaron Woodley (Toronto Stories, Rhinoceros Eyes)
Cast: Kevin Zegers, John Bregar, Laura Vandervoort, Dustin Milligan, Devon Bostick, Victor Garber, Ray Liotta, Stephen McHattie, Tatiana Maslany
Canada, 2011 (DVD Release)
Reason to see: The cast got me on this one!
In a time when striving for the best and being your best possible self can still leave you coming up short, the temptation to hatch a perfect plan to get what should be yours can be a strong driving force. In The Entitled, that temptation proves to be the driving force behind well-educated bike courier Paul (Kevin Zegers of Normal and Frozen) who carefully and gracefully hatches a plan to pull in a boatload of money with the ransom from kidnapping three privileged young party people Jeff (John Bregar), Hailey (Laura Vandervoort) and Nick (Dustin Milligan of Repeaters).
It's a promising idea for a film and a great starting point for a great story full of tension and conflict from many points of view from moral to emotional, and of course the theme of taking from others what you don't think they will miss - by threaten to take away what they will miss most: their family. That's tried and true kidnapping & ransom film tactic but one of the things I loved about the the film was how isolated and separate the different sets of people were from the kidnappers to the kidnappees, but especially the parents. The scenes with the fathers played by Ray Liotta, Victor Garber and Stephen McHattie (Pontypool) were definitely stand out moments in the film. Talk about an impressive roster of talent. And it's not just the Dad's that pulled it off, I was very impressed by Kevin Zegers, Devon Bostick and Tatiana Maslany as the trio of young kidnappers, they had a wild energy to them that added a lot to the film.
The only thing I didn't dig about the film was the theme about the American Dream as I could spot this as a Canadian film from a mile away. I understand the instant connection to that concept and it's current relevance but the patriot in me was like "Oh, come on!". I get it. I didn't love it, but I get it. And it's my only beef with the film, which is pretty freaking impressive - I've had the bar set very high for kidnapping thrillers ever since I saw The Disappearance of Alice Creed two years ago, and it was so good that it felt like watching another film in the genre redundant. I'm happy I took the chance with The Entitled as shows that something new can be done, and better yet done very, very well. I strongly recommend checking it out.
- Behind-the-Scenes featurette (11 minutes) film clips, behind the scenes & interviews with director Aaron Woodley, producer Dave Valleau, writer/executive producer William Morrissey, director of photography David Greene and actors Victor Garber, Kevin Zegers, John Bregar, Laura Vandervoort, Dustin Milligan, Devon Bostick, Ray Liotta, Tatiana Maslany on how it's different from other kidnapping films and it's unique take on thriller genre, plus on how they got involved in the project, the casting, the characters, the appeal of the project and getting into the characters. Featurette split into sections of: Putting the Film Together, The Story, The Themes (including the American Dream), The Look, Casting, Preparing, The Characters, Challenges & Final Thoughts.
- Alternate Ending (4 minutes) Although 4 minutes long, this is really just one twist which completely changes the tone and possibly message, but I'm happy they went with the one they had in the film.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I strongly recommend it to thriller fans
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© Shannon Ridler, 2011