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Featured DVD Review: Fierce People

September 7th, 2010

Fierce People - Buy from Amazon

Fierce People was filmed in early 2004, but wasn't released in theaters till 2007. It came out on DVD in 2008 and it is now being re-released for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. If I were to guess, it would be because it co-stars Kristen Stewart, who has since gone on to be part of Twilight. Whether or not my cynical explanation is correct, this is a true re-release and the DVD is identical to the original release, right down to the trailers. So if you have seen the movie and own the DVD, this review is likely superfluous. On the other hand, since the movie made less than $100,000 in theaters, that's likely a very, very small percentage of people reading this.

The Show

Anton Yelchin stars as Finn Earl, whom we meet in the beginning as he is watching anthropological movies made by his father. These movies are his only real connection to his father, but this summer he plans to travel to South America to be with him. However, those plans change when his mother sends him out to pick up some coke (that's the drug, not the drink) and he's busted by the cops. His mother decides to take him to live with Ogden C. Osborne, one of her clients (she's a massage therapist) and the seventh richest person in the world. Her goal is to find a place where she can sober up and where Finn will be safe from bad influences.

Boy did she pick the wrong place to go.

The Osborne's are super rich. So rich that they practically own the town they live in. They've become so insular that they've become like a lost tribe... the kind Finn's father studies. The family is supremely dysfunctional and for much of the film, it is a rather lighthearted coming-of-age / culture clash / cross-class romance that works, for the most part. Granted, we are not presented with any great depth in these areas, at least nothing we haven't seen before. But at least it could have been entertaining to watch the collection of actors perform.

However, the film then takes a turn that comes out of left field that turns a passable film into one that where you ask, "What were they thinking?"

It never recovers and quite frankly, I'm not surprised it sat on a studio shelf for as long as it did.

The Extras

Extras start with an audio commentary track by Griffin Dunne, but as a solo track, it doesn't have enough energy to sustain itself. Next up is a 14-minute making of featurette, which is pretty standard stuff. Finally, there are three deleted scenes with a total running time of close to four minutes, most of which is the alternate ending.

The Verdict

Fierce People is a mess, to be blunt. At best it could have been a simple tale warning audiences about the dangers of being super-rich, which is hardly unique, but one that was buoyed by strong performances by Donald Sutherland, Diane Lane, and others. As it is, it tries to be too much and fails. The DVD isn't devoid of extras, but it also doesn't have enough to make it worth buying. It's only worth renting if you are a fan of the actors involved.

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