Currently streaming on Netflix is writer/director Riley Stearns‘ psychological drama/dark comedy Faults. The film premiered at SXSW back in 2014 and hit limited theaters in March of this year courtesy of Screen Media Films. Our own Allison Keene reviewed the pic around its theatrical release, giving it an “A-” and calling it a “charismatic work” from Stearns in his feature debut. Blame it on my public education, but in my experience an “A-” is fantastic if not teetering on the brink of overachieving.
Starring Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, both of which give stellar performances, Faults‘ setup is simple: Ansel (Orser) is a cult expert who is approached by parents trying to save their daughter Claire (Winstead) from a mysterious sect called Faults. In desperate need of cash and self-validation, Ansel agrees to help “deprogram” Claire with the hopes that she’ll choose to leave the cult and return home. What ensues is an offbeat, sometimes funny, and often profound look at complex ideas pertaining to identity, control, and faith. Depending on your sensibilities, the third act may go a little off the rails for your liking but Faults is absolutely worth watching and debating. I can’t wait to see what Stearns does next.
Recommendation in hand, let’s get to this week’s Top 5: