I was unable to make it into the premiere of Faults due to a huge turnout that left me and many others shut out of the film, but I still attended my interview with stars Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and director Riley Stearns. I was concerned about conducting an interview without having seen the film in question, but we ended up having a wonderful chat that ranged from the SXSW experience and Alien: Resurrection to the state of independent cinema and where it is headed next.
Orser vanishes into his character with an assured ease, giving a performance that so deftly portrays all the aspects of his character that it was by far the best male lead performance to be found at SXSW.
At long last I was able to catch the final screening of Faults, a packed showing for a festival nearing its close. The lights dimmed, the usual pre-movie blips played, and the movie began. I was immediately caught off guard by Leland Orser’s show-stopping performance. This was not the quiet but confidently spoken man I had met earlier in the week. Yes, the physical features and some of the mannerisms were the same, but this was not the same I had met only a few days before. Orser vanishes into his character with an assured ease, giving a performance that so deftly portrays all the aspects of his character that it was by far the best male lead performance to be found at SXSW.
We first meet Ansel (Orser) in the dining room of a hotel, where he adamantly refuses to pay for his meal and insists he can use an expired voucher that he picked from the trash. An expert in cults and mind control, Ansel is approached after one of his less-than-stellar seminars by the two worried parents who fear their daughter may have fallen prey to the control of cult. Ansel initially declines, but reconsiders after they offer to buy him breakfast.
While our first impressions of Ansel might lead us to view him as a humorous character, it quickly becomes clear that this is a man near the end of his rope that is rifled with sadness. Orser expertly brings out the comedic sides of his character, revealing himself to be a master of timing and delivery. He brings the same expertise when showing us the darker side of his character, the secrets he hides, and the broken man that hides underneath his tough skin.
While our first impressions of Ansel might lead us to view him as a humorous character, it quickly becomes clear that this is a man near the end of his rope that is rifled with sadness.
Ansel agrees to attempt “deprogram” Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a process that involves kidnapping her and making her start to question the beliefs that the cult has instilled in her. Given the nature of its plot, a good chunk of the movie takes place in a hotel room. However, the powerful combination of Riley Stearns’ writing and direction ensures that the movie never comes to a standstill. Scenes in the hotel room are properly suspenseful and don’t go on longer than they have to. Winstead and Orser bounce off each other wonderfully, breathing life into a script that constantly plays with our expectations and keeps us intrigued till the very end.
I didn’t know what to expect walking into Faults, and what little preconceived notions I had regarding the film were immediately wiped away once the movie began. Here is a movie that pulls from multiple genres to form a solid mystery thriller, at the heart of which is an intimate portrait of a broken man trying to get back on his feet again. Stellar performances, unexpected twists and fresh writing abound. What a movie.
[notification type=”star”]85/100 ~ GREAT. Faults is an intimate portrait of a broken man trying to get back on his feet that features a fantastic lead peformance by Leland Orser. [/notification]