Friday, June 24, 2016

Fateful Findings

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! After watching two of Neil Breen's films, I'm scared I'll get some sort of Stockholm Syndrome to them and the man who is responsible for 'em.



Fateful Findings – 0 out of 5


Back in December, I was assigned a mission for the pop culture site I contribute to:  Due to my fondness for low budget bad movies, I was asked to seek out, watch and review a film called Double Down—a movie produced by a man named Neil Breen.  Breen has absolutely no background in writing, acting or filmmaking but he made butt-loads of cash and because access to decent cameras, basic editing software, free-license music and the ability to take advantage of desperate actors who have never been told they should probably come up with a different dream are all pretty easy to get your hands on, Breen decided to make movies and what follows is some of the most truly amazing examples of utterly horrendous and truly incompetent filmmaking.  Double Down nearly killed me with how bad it was but now my body and spirit are fully healed and I’m ready for Round 2 with his 2013 supernatural, sci-fi drama or whatever the hell genre this film fits into titled Fateful Findings.

When you see this name, you know magic is quick to follow.
It's probably dark magic that will destroy your soul but it's still magic!

According to Wikipedia (because the film is such a mess that it’s impossible to tell what is going on), the story focuses on a writer and expert hacker Dylan (Breen).  As a child, he and his crush found a magical gem in the woods and the two eventually went their separate ways but Dylan kept the gem and the power of it is unlocked after he’s in a horrible car accident.  The power in the gem grants him powers to heal faster, (apparently) teleportation and inspires him to use his totes awesome hacking skills to get all the corporate and government secrets.  While busy getting these secrets, Dylan is bombarded with his wife and/or girlfriend (the film never really makes it clear) dealing with substance abuse problems, his friend apparently committing suicide, the step-daughter of his best friend wanting to get nasty with him and the convenient discovery that one of the doctors from his accident just so happened to be his childhood crush.  So, with apparently some spirits guiding him, Dylan seeks out to set aside his personal tragedies piling on his life (and a huge affinity for throwing books—seriously, he throws a lot of books in this films) and looks to expose the secrets of the corporations and the governments.

Just assume he's throwing books because he has too many laptops.

Sometimes when movies display such a level of incompetency, it’s super difficult to figure out where to begin.  I could talk about how poorly written the story is and how I think Neil Breen doesn’t understand what constitutes a decent or interesting protagonist—or even what a protagonist is.  I could talk about the strange acting choices or the appearance that this film used only a single take for each scene.  I could talk about how the plot clearly has no idea what to do or how to tell a single cohesive story.  Or I could talk about the million other problems that arise from all these elements.  Well, let’s start with the story…

Breen's remake of the creation of Darth Vader.

Just like Double Down, Breen showcases that his own narcissism takes precedence over a story that actually makes sense.  However, unlike DD, you’re not subjected to never ending narration where we hear Breen talk about how his character is the brightest and best hacker and all-around coolest dude to ever exist.  It’s still there but to a much lesser extent.  Instead, this time around any monologues or dialogue where Dylan is mentioning how great he is as a hacker are always set-up by another character and Dylan dives in for the spike and talks about how he’s the most fantastical, most amazeballs of hackers in all of existence!

He's also really good at getting hit by cars.
  

When Breen’s writing isn’t spending it’s time showcasing how potential fragile his ego is, it’s spent showing how poorly he understands story and plot.  The plot of this film is so hard to follow that many a-moments are only made clear thanks to the valiant hero who wrote up the plot synopsis on Wikipedia.  Apparently, Dylan gains powers from the gem but due to the complete lack of special effects and sloppy editing, you never would have known that Dylan actually teleports in one sequence.  Breen also fills the story with completely unnecessary elements that do absolutely nothing to develop the story.  For some reason, several people have addiction problems despite the film supposedly being about ghosts helping Dylan hack government and corporate secrets and there’s absolutely no point to having step-daughter of Dylan's friend wanting to get nasty with him.  The only real purpose it serves is Breen showing us his very disturbing personal fantasy because these few scenes of the daughter wanting Dylan just randomly insert themselves in the story without any real context and absolutely no consequences.

Yep, that's definitely Breen trying to replicate the human
emotion of anguish.

Story elements that seemingly have no consequence or importance really feels like the name of the game with Fateful Findings.  In the story, Dylan’s best friend is shot dead by his wife and she plays it off like a suicide.  Does this end up having something to do with Dylan’s hacking or is this perhaps one of the corporate secrets he discovers?  Nope.  Then there's Dylan’s girlfriend (or wife, I’m not sure because this film is a mess) ends up overdosing while he’s off having sex in the woods with his boyhood crush (that’s right, Dylan is a cheater—Breen doesn’t really understand how to write a decent protagonist).  What does her death have to do with Dylan’s work?  Who knows?  I guess it could be argued that all this is a test for Dylan's resolve to see if he'll still do his good work within the face of terrible adversity but with Breen’s sloppy writing it’s impossible to really use this argument effectively.

Another question:  Why is there a scene where Dylan is making goofy faces
at the woman he cheated on his pill-addicted wife with while he eats a salad
composed, seemingly, entirely of spinach?

Everything about this film is just strange and really makes me curious as to Breen’s creative decision making process and even wonder how much time Breen has honestly spent in the real world.  For example, Breen is shown having an appointment with two separate therapists and neither of them are taken in an office but rather one in a conference room and the other is just in the corner of a nondescript room sitting on metal folding chairs.

Yes, this screams therapists office and not the conference room in his
real estate office where he made all his money to make these awful films.
  
I sure hope this therapist isn't charging him that much because this doesn't look
comfortable at all.

Breen also really likes filming himself nude and there’s a ton of scenes of Dylan in the buff for no reason whatsoever—or worse, for sex reasons and you have to sit through the most awkward make-out/sex scenes this side of The Room.  However, the most inexplicable moments in the film are the final sequences where Dylan is holding a press conference (which apparently anyone can do at any moment).

I'm not really a censorship type of guy but even I have my limits.
  

The one on the right seems incredibly pleased
that this hacker is going to ruin his life and career.
During these final moments of the film (and if you’re worried about Spoilers for a movie that I feel no human being should ever watch, you might want to leave now), Dylan keeps mentioning the word "secrets" and how it’s going to change the world (without actually saying what any of the secrets are) and the guilty senators and CEOs are gathered to watch this man destroy them…and they’re actually happy about it!  Even stranger than the fact that they are smiling and applauding this man sell them out, they each kill themselves—and some of them literally shoot themselves in the head AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE!!!  But it doesn’t stop being strange there—after they shoot themselves, you hear the audience (which is composed of audio only because Breen couldn’t get extras) wildly applauding these public suicides.  Does Breen think this is the reaction people would really have if a banker shot himself in front of them?

The most unbelievable part of this film is that Breen expects us to believe that
bankers will somehow be held responsible for their crimes.

Screencap presented without comment.
It’s easy to point out the usual crap that comes with a bad movie like Fateful Findings.  Things like bad acting, horrible editing and the fact that literally every scene plays out incredibly awkwardly as they are filled with strange silences and ever stranger reactions from the actors or the fact that Breen pads the every livin’ hell out of the film with tons of needless B-roll but the real magic of this film is just how terribly the movie is written and how the plot doesn’t make a lick of sense.  Even more amazing is how this film perfectly rides the line of being so bad that your soul is screaming for you to turn off the DVD (or, in this case, close the browser or search for something more entertaining on YouTube) and being so bad due to Breen’s lack of creativity or filmmaking know-how that you can’t turn away and you sink into the madness that is this film and throw away your sanity.  

Seamless special effects!

In the end, Fateful Findings is just a terrible movie and is very poorly constructed.  It provides a lesson in the fact it can easily make you appreciate even the worst films churned out by the Hollywood movie-making machine but it can also show you the dangers of easy access to filmmaking equipment.  So, I guess in six months when I’ve made a full recovery from this film, you’ll see me risk a life of living in an asylum all over again and I’ll review another Neil Breen joint…maybe the one where he plays God—and no, I’m not joking about that.

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