As if on cue, and without any plan or foresight from the filmmakers perspective, I believe we have our first film for the ‘Occupy This’ crowd as ‘The Entitled’ features some 99 percenters who have had enough of those haughty one percenters having money and stuff, and they are about to do something about it. What is the crime committed by these one percenters that have the 99 percenters in this movie so upset? They have more money than they do. If that’s not a solid reason for kidnapping and murder, I don’t know what is.
Our film starts out introducing us to Paul Dynan (Kevin Zegers) who will narrate for us. This is more of a personal thing but I’m starting to think that narration in movies is unnecessary, and I don’t think ‘The Entitled’ necessarily needed Paul to guide us towards his justifications for what he is about to do. Anyways, Paul is a recent college grad who can’t find a job no matter how hard he tries, he lives with his parents, we saw his mom cough which in a movie means she’s probably gonna die… and we know The System is more than likely responsible for this… we never meet his dad but we know he’s a working stiff always working but to almost no avail considering that the Dynan’s just got their foreclosure notice. The Dynan’s are the poster children for the working poor.
Across town living in the opposite style of the Dynan’s is Frank (Anthony Ulc), his best friend Nick (Dustin Milligan) and Nick’s girl Hailey (Laura Vandervoort). These rich kids are spoiled rotten, do drugs, drink incessantly and crap on poor people for being poor. Except for Nick who isn’t a total douche like Frank and his girlfriend. The plan for the weekend is to meet up with their old men and hang out at the villa for the weekend and enjoy being richer than everybody else.
But alas these kids are not going to make it because Paul and his accomplices Jenna (Tatiana Maslany) and Dean (Devon Bostick) have kidnapped these kids and plan to extort three mil from their flush fathers Richard (Ray Liotta), Cliff (Stephen McHattie) and Bob (Victor Garber). Paul has this thing planned out to perfection so the only requirements for his unstable, hostile and angry accomplices is to stick the plan and at the end of the day a few members of the 99 percent crew will get a promotion. As if.
We’ve seen enough kidnapping movies to know that our master kidnapper’s plan is usually undone by that one psycho that somebody insisted on bringing along, but Paul has two psychos for accomplices so stuff starts hitting the fan very quickly and very often and not all of our punk rich kids are going to survive the night. We’ve also seen enough kidnapping movies to know that everything isn’t always what it seems and that some twisty curves lie dead ahead. But will you care? That’s the question that needs the answer.
My answer to that question is ‘no, I didn’t care really’, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think that director Aaron Woodley’s film ‘The Entitled’ wasn’t somewhat interesting. The reason I wasn’t all in was basically due to ambiguity of the characters we were watching. This could’ve been by design but there’s really nobody to root for here as most of the characters we are dealing with are either selfish, unscrupulous, emotionally unbalanced, psychotic, murderers or some nasty combination of the aforementioned. So do you want to see the kidnappers to stick to The Man? Not necessarily. Do you want the entitled children to survive? The planet won’t miss them. Do you want the fat cad dads to avoid the tragedy of child loss? We’ve met their kids, they’ll recover and they have money to soften the blow. So unless you find yourself hypnotized by Kevin Zegers crystal blue eyes, as the Dean, unstable psycho no. 1 mentioned, not much to root for here.
Nonetheless, ‘The Entitled’ was blessed with some rock solid performances and a nice pace to keep the viewer engaged. The character development was low, but the characters the actors were playing were defined clear enough so we got a good feel for the kind of people that they were, with the best performances were turned in by veterans Liotta, McHattie and Garber, not surprisingly, but the younger actors played off of each other well and didn’t disappoint. In addition the story was told in a style that kept you watching and the filmmakers didn’t telegraph their passes so it kept you on your toes.
Then it goes off the tracks a little bit as it comes to its conclusion, complete with the talking guy explaining everything to us, via talking to another character. Remember, Paul was already narrating the damn thing so talking to some guy and breaking down everything to this guy was probably unnecessary, and then to watch this guy just stand there and listen to this nut was just plain silly.
But all that being said, I still am of the mind that that ‘The Entitled’ had a lot to offer by way of its performances and it’s style which goes a long way to overriding it’s silly parts and the fact that almost all the characters in this piece are abhorrent. Not completely, but it does go a long way.