Power of Few
One literary technique that has been in use for a very long time is multiple perspectives. First encountered this method in William Faulkner's ‘The Sound and the Fury’. The novel was divided into four sections; the first three presented in the first person representing three siblings in the family at the center of the story. The forth is a change representing the same events by focusing on the family housekeeper and providing the only trustworthy telling of the story. The three previous sections provide another literary device, the unreliable narrator. For reasons frequently cloaked in mystery the narrator is not to be taken as absolute truth. Occasionally the discrepancies are a result of the natural differences in the recanting of any witness. Although no were close to the quality of the above cited literary master piece the film considered here strove to employ a similar methodology. ‘The Power of the Few’ is a mélange of several basic, related genres encompassing a number of familiar archetypes and plot lines. This multiplicity of movie elements was reflected in the initial stages of the production with something often referred to as group funding. One common means of financing an independent movie is to accumulate a number of investors until sufficient funds are achieved. This film was financed this way eventually achieving the $7.5 million used to budget the flick. The results of this collaborative effort was not ideal with a number of glaring missteps but considering this is the first time at bat for writer/director Leone Marucci it is an honest attempt and an admirable start to what is certain to be a very interesting career. This thought was obviously shared by respected members of the entertainment industry; the cast includes a number of exceptionally talented actors including an Academy Award winner.
The multiple perspective stories has been brought over to film a number of times with the early works of Quentin Tarantino holding steady as the modern high water maker for the use of the technique. While Tarantino was able to pull a cohesive central story out of a tangle morass of threads and characters Mr. Marucci is coming close but still requires more experience to hone his approach. To come close enough for a valid compassion with an innovative filmmaker like Tarantino is in itself quite an accomplishment and fortifies the anticipation of great things in the future of Mr. Marucci. Essentially the movie follows four individuals as they converge on NewOrleans. The total number of perspectives telling the story increase by a few more points of view dividing the modest running time too severely. There is a lot to take in, associate and filter for an audience anticipating a crime thriller. While this is a laudable goal the instead of distinctive pieces of a puzzle the audience is left contending with ball of string entangled together.
The central story is carried through the travails of five sets of characters. There is an unlikely set of partners, Clyde (Christian Slater) and Marti (Nicky Whelan) busily searching the neighborhood contrasted to the wanderings of a pair of homeless men, the outspoken Doke (Christopher Walken) and his diminutive side kick, Brown (Jordan Prentice). Then there is a teenager, Cory (Devon Gearhart), in search of medicine required by his baby brother. Next up is Alexa (Q'orianka Kilcher), a delivery girl with a penchant for thrill seeking who encounters a fugitive, Dom (Jesse Bradford) deciding hooking up with him will supply a much desired adrenaline fix. Providing a means to oversee the others is a young black woman, Fueisha (ione Johnson), better known by her nom de voyage, Few. Helping to round out the cast of characters but not formerly a distinctive narrative voice is a couple of gang members, Shamu (Juvenile) and Junkshow (Anthony Anderson) who collectively receive one of the better expositive moments of the movie. The way the characters are deployed gives a decidedly uneven feel to the movie. While the dialogue is incredibly on point, especially for a screenwriter still in his formative stage, the connective tissue necessary to permeate the segments and mold them into a single unit is lacking. There is no synergy built in the interrelationship of the parts; they have points of contact and share a degree of commonality but the whole turns out as less of the sum of its parts.
The filmmaker while generally on point is inconsistent with the deployment of the talent lending their abilities to this project. Walken is definitely in his element as the street sage dispensing exposition and elucidation to the other characters and audience.
The visual of the six foot tall Walken juxtaposed to the diminutive Mr. Prentice is a wonderfully crafted piece of misdirection leading the viewer to assume the pair was included for comic relief. Actually much like the Shakespearian jester the duo provide a much more critical part serving as a type of Greek Chorus. Meanwhile, the amazing versatility of Anthony Anderson is barely scratched. Not only is he a proven comic but as anyone that has seen him on F/X’s intense crime series, ‘The Shield’ can attest his grasp of pure evil is something he needs to explore fully in future parts. The most distracting aspect of the movie just happens to contribute to the quirky appeal it manifested. The sub plots are a veritable explosion of plot ideas from some bizarre brain storming session that land in almost random spots in the story. The mundane fugitive manhunt is presented alongside a search for a fugitive and the dire need to locate medicine crucial to a young boy’s survival. With all of this going on it is acceptable to have several unreliable narratives in such a case you need a trustworthy voice to pull the discrepancies together and give the audience definitive closure for the overall tale. It seems the filmmaker might have been purposely leaving things unresolved and open ended so as to permit the audience some degree of determining the true events but that method is conducive to a streamlining of the number of vantage points.
The Making Of The Power Of Few