Monday, October 19, 2015

The Living (2014)

Number Rolled: 71
Movie Name/Year: The Living (2014)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Shooting Films
Executive Producer: Chad Eggers, Ashley Pishock
Director: Jack Bryan
Writer: Jack Bryan
Actors: Fran Kranz, Jocelin Donahue, Kenny Wormald, Chris Mulkey, Joelle Carter, Erin Cummings, Andy Sandberg

Teddy wakes up after a night of drinking to find that he beat his wife while he was blacked out. From that moment on he attempts to make it up to her while her family’s distaste for the situation turns to rage.

Selina’s Point of View:
I absolutely adore Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, Bloodsucking Bastards). I have loved him as a stoner, a tech geek, even as a vampire-slaying office worker. My love for Kranz as an actor goes back to Donnie Darko (2001) when he first stepped out of a car wearing a ridiculous clown costume.

The Living is a movie I might not have seen at all if Kranz wasn’t in it and if we didn’t do the dice rolling for the blog. I’m not big on drama, not even dark-film noir type of drama.I’m really glad I got to see this.

Rotten Tomatoes seemed to mostly dislike this film and I’m not sure why.

Fran Kranz pulled off his role perfectly. I was invested in his character’s life and trials. No movie has ever been able to get me to sympathize with the abuser. My father was abusive. Fuck those guys. Still, Kranz pulled it off.

Aside from him, the other actors were great in their respective roles. Jocelin Donahue (The Burrowers, The End of Love, Wes and Ella) broke my heart every time she flinched. I could feel the anxiety oozing off of Kenny Wormald’s (Center Stage: Turn it Up, Kid Cannabis, Love & Mercy) character. Chris Mulkey (Captain Phillips, The Purge, Saving Grace) pulled off the insane criminal pretty well. Joelle Carter (Justified, Jessabelle, The Week) was very believable as the overwhelmed and jaded mother that had her kids too early.

I enjoyed seeing this story from the side of almost every character and I thought the progression followed a steady pace. It helps that I really feel like the plot was creative and unique.

My personal opinion on The Living is to say “fuck the critics.” It’s really worth a watch-through.

Cat’s Point of View:
When we rolled a Fran Kranz (The Village, Rise: Blood Hunter, Before I Disappear) movie, my interest was immediately piqued. I became a fan of his with his work on the series Dollhouse (2009-2010). I’d seen him in a few things before then, but that’s where the first real zing connection was.

His scruffy adorableness in this film made it a little harder to be angry with his character’s actions. Though, perhaps that was the point? Perhaps that was part of the window that let the audience peer in to his emotions and connect with his regret and desire for redemption.

I almost didn’t recognize Kenny Wormald (Footloose, Cavemen, By the Gun). Between the facial hair and the demeanor he was embodying with his role here; he was a far cry from the last film I saw him in. I think that’s a plus in his favor. His performance was well nuanced here. You could just see how the character was just internalizing everything.

Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield, The Perfect Game, Bad Actress) was an interesting addition to this cast. He’s one of those actors that have been all over the place with an episode here and there in tons of TV shows. You know his face, even if you don’t remember exactly the last project he was in.

This film was poignant and also ominous, as it moved towards inevitability. Events set in motion by Wormald’s character make it predictable – but that, I believe, is part of the anticipation. It was more of a question of when things would happen, rather than what would be happening.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 36%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 2/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

P.S. Mulkey is rumored to be reprising his role in the highly anticipated 2017 return of the Twin Peaks TV Series, which originally aired from 1990-1991.

Movie Trailer:

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