FinestKind | TIFF 2023 | Review by: Benjamin Garrett
Finestkind is a family drama, a crime thriller and a romance forcibly mashed together. It lacks narrative or thematic direction, shuffling sloppily through genres, never quite sure of what kind of movie it wants to be.
This film has a major identity crisis, starting with a script that doesn’t know what it’s trying to say. It occasionally flirts with what could be powerful underlying themes - most notably the unwavering bond between fathers and sons - but doesn’t commit to fully exploring any of them. It’s so busy flip-flopping between genres, that by the time its themes do come through, they feel rushed and contrived, rather than earned.
Worse, though, is the dialogue. Chock full of winning lines like “Don’t do it! Don’t waste a good punch” and “Be your own hero”. Oh, and of course “You’re my brother” and “I’m your daddy” repeated a dozen or so times just in case you forgot some of the characters are related. It doesn’t matter what calibre of actors you have in your film when the dialogue is this poor. It would sound stilted coming from anyone’s mouth.
The sense of camaraderie between the ship’s crew is one of the few things that ring true. That believable bond certainly doesn’t come from the script, but instead from the mostly strong cast and their on screen chemistry with one another. The sense of estranged but tender brotherhood between Ben Foster and Toby Wallace feels genuine, as does the broken relationship between Foster and Tommy Lee Jones as father and son. Surprisingly, Jenna Ortega is one of the weakest links, but that’s mainly due to her thinly written character who doesn’t have a ton to do.
Finestkind is a bland and poorly written movie, unable to find a voice of its own in a sea of clashing ideas and genres. Despite boasting a strong cast and being decently shot, this is a choppy voyage that’ll leave you seasick.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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