Are you a fan of The Room and are looking for another auteur-driven disaster? Well look no further than Neil Breen and Fateful Findings.
USA, 2013, Neil Breen
From the moment the film starts, everything seems off, and it’s not the usual filmmaking incompetence. I mean it is, but then there’s more on top of it. Can an entire film be awkward? I think it can. There are a lot lingering shots, excruciatingly slow pans and shots of feet. Full points for Breen for attempting to be cinematic, zero for execution. A particularly strange moment occurs early in the film. After the main character Dylan (played by Breen) is hit by a car, we get a shot of the driver getting out of the car. Instead of a distraught driver, we get a busty lass in a miniskirt and high heels slowly getting out of the car and walking over.
As for the story, there’s a lot happening, but very little of it has to do with the main plotline. Fateful Findings is essentially about a man who finds a magical black cube when he was a child and gains magical powers, which he uses to recover quickly from a car accident and hack into the government. ‘I’m going to continue hacking into these government systems, to see what I can find out,’ Dylan says to no-one in particular, and with zero context, ‘about all this national and international corruption I know is going on.’
So does this movie have something to say about the state of the US government? No, it doesn’t. Every reference to government secrets and corruption is completely vague. All that is said is that Dylan is not actually working on that book he’s supposed to be writing, he is secretly hacking into the government. Breen may have something against novelists because his character hates the fact he writes books for a living. He must also hate continuity because Dylan definitely tells his wife his secret plan before the actual big reveal to her.
The subplots revolve around Dylan’s wife, Emily, and neighbours Jim and Amy. After getting out of hospital, which leads to a great sequence in which a bloodied and bandaged Dylan embraces with his wife in the shower, not Dylan but his wife gets addicted to pills. There’s little evidence of this until she abruptly becomes a complete mess later on — something which can be said of basically every bit of plot in this film.
Jim and Amy spend their entire time together on-screen fighting, mostly about sex, of a lack thereof. They fight and fight, and do a fantastically terrible job at portraying a real couple, and then Amy murders Jim and frames it as a suicide. They also have a young step-daughter who wants a piece of Dylan’s D. These characters could have been left out entirely and the story wouldn’t be affected but I am very glad they are here.
The story really kicks into gear/goes off the rails when Dylan is reunited with his long-lost childhood friend, Leah, who seems much younger than Dylan despite apparently being the same age. How does he recognise her? Why, she drops her notebook which is the exact one she had at the start of the film, in which she wrote ‘it’s a magical day,’ and Dylan picked it up. The two then immediately fall in love. Conveniently, just as Dylan stops give a shit about his wife, she dies of an overdose.
Fateful Findings, much like The Room, is made all the better due to its many idiosyncrasies, the kind of things that don’t appear in movies by people who know what they are doing. For instance, Dylan’s desk is filled with several laptops and many copies of one book, which get thrown around whenever emotion needs to be conveyed. Annoyance, anger, impending sexy times, all can be improved with a good book throwing. Then there is the PG-rated sexiness — there’s plenty of side boob from Amy, a total of zero bras worn in the movie and the most cutaways to clothes dropping on the floor you will ever see. There’s also the super basic meals on display. Ever just eaten a few slices of bread or a plate of spinach leaves?
Now, I kind of don’t want to spoil the ending, because it is amazing. But then again, it is one of those things that has to be seen to be believed. Dylan gets up on a podium, in front of some very obvious green screen, and tells his findings to the world. The people who he has indicted step up and admit their crimes and then commit suicide in a terribly edited, completely bananas montage. And that is the end of the movie.
Watch this movie, it is a fantastic failure of a film.
Fateful Findings is available on DVD from Breen’s wonderfully professional website or digitally from Amazon.