VOD film review: Faults
Ian Loring | On 11, Sep 2015
Director: Riley Stearns
Cast: Leland Orser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lance Reddick
Watch Faults online in the UK: Shudder UK / Amazon Prime / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Leland Orser is one of the great “Hey, that guy!” actors of contemporary cinema. His geeky, nervous body language of his younger days played to notable effect in small roles in Se7en and Alien Resurrection (his character being involved in the film’s one notable kill), but in recent times he has taken on the part of the normal guy whose life has gotten away from him. His middle-management-dad-who-likes-to-have-a-half-dozen-beers was rather enjoyable in last year’s The Guest and now that film’s producers, Keith and Jessica Calder, have brought him back, along with fellow The Guest player Lance Reddick, to give him a lead role in drama/black comedy Faults.
The film follows Ansel, an expert on cults, who is hired to deprogram Claire (Winstead), who is under the grip of the titular mysterious cult. The casting of Orser is the film’s primary success; without him, it probably wouldn’t be worth recommending. His character has caused a lot of hurt in his life by the time we meet him, but his sheer desperation plays on our empathy. A startling but amusing opening scene shows just how low he’s gotten. As our journey with him continues, you just want to give him a hug.
Riley Stearns’ narrative sadly doesn’t offer all that much to really get our teeth into. The bare bones of the story lack much in the way of invention and the beats of the piece play out pretty much exactly as you expect. The more quirky aspects of the writing also get filtered out, as the story focuses more intensely on Orser and Winstead. The opening act plays a nice line in showing Orser’s plans barely holding together, but as the questions move more to what Winstead’s character is up to, along with some suggestions of otherworldly goings-on, interest levels start to sag.
Winstead perhaps isn’t the type of actress to pull off this material. She plays the character as either seductive or innocently damaged, but both in a somewhat flat, monotone way. Orser, though, plays to his strengths and, while the writing doesn’t offer an awful lot to work with, he makes the most of it, which also results in the ending feeling more ambiguous than it would on paper. It would be truly nice to say that Faults is better than it is. Leland isn’t an actor who gets a decent lead role every day, but he does really well in what is otherwise a somewhat underwhelming 91 minutes. Faults is worth a watch, if only to see Orser frantically eat some ketchup.
Faults is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription. It is also available to stream online on Shudder UK, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, or £49.99 yearly membership.