The Entitled – Talented and Tense

entitled

It’s an euphoric feeling when you have low expectations on a film, and you get something that is a welcome surprise. The Entitled is just that, dishing out many unexpected twists along with showcasing talented actors.

Leading man Paul Dynan (Kevin Zegers) is a guy down on his luck. His ailing mother’s house is in foreclosure, and he can’t get a job to help out. Like any sensible human being, he decides to kidnap his former spoiled rich classmates and have their fathers pay out a three million dollar ransom. Dynan brings along his idiot girlfriend and buddy, who complicate matters with their psychotic hatred for rich people, and suddenly everything goes haywire.

Dynan seems out of his mind by bringing along his stupid helpers. They are all trigger-happy and sure to get caught. It’s enough to make anybody shout at the screen and throw things. Then, out of the blue, revelations start to appear. Without spoiling too much, Dylan’s plan was not as stupid as it appeared. In fact, it’s brilliant. It’s a twist that could’ve been in an episode of 24. And the twists and revelations just keep coming in the last twenty minutes as all events come full circle.

Devon Bostick and Tatiana Maslany do an adequate job of conveying prejudiced kidnappers to the point of lunacy, and they each have a frightening moment. The actors portraying the hostages (Dustin Milligan, Laura Vanderpoort, John Bregar) don’t really do much except act like spoiled socialite brats until screaming and crying nonstop after the abduction. However, nobody would blame them, and events happen to them that are truly terrifying. The real meat of the acting comes from the veterans, being Stephen McHattie, Victor Garber, and Ray Liotta… yes, THAT Ray Liotta. Their situation has Liotta and McHattie trying to hide a valuable bit of information (won’t reveal due to spoilers) from Garber. A battle of wits erupts, and they have the best show stealers. Garber is a true standout. His character’s world is turned upside down, and he portrays that roller coaster of emotions to the dot.

Despite being a generally good movie, there are some moments that distract. One in particular is of how sympathetic Dynan is. In the end, his plan makes him seem cold. It’s not so much in the sense of doing what you have to, but more as in his lack of empathy for what he did to innocent lives. It didn’t fit his character. While the twists were great, his character was left hallowed out. Perhaps that was the point, but it felt very unsettling.

Besides a few hiccup moments here and there, The Entitled will leave you on the edge of your seat and the payoff is surprising and unexpected. This DVD is well worth watching multiple times to pick up on clues you may have missed during the first viewing. Director Aaron Woodley knows how to direct tension with his actors, and the superb plot from writer William Morrissey fuels that fire. Hopefully these two can break out further into more movies or television, because they have some serious talent.