2014 SXSW Review: FAULTS

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

This year, some of the films of SXSW have had unusual and disappointing ending twists or reveals. Faults certainly belongs in that list. This movie starts off well, with a great mix of comedy, drama, and tension; however, the climax leads to a disappointing and ridiculous ending that had me utterly annoyed and frustrated. As with other films that fall into this frustrating category this year. I absolutely loved everything leading up to the end. Faults stars Leland Orser as Ansel Roth, a once celebrated, but now washed up, cult member deprogrammer in desperate need of money to pay off some debts. Even the publisher of his recent book is threatening Ansel with violence if he cannot pay off his debt to him.  Roth sees an opportunity to make some serious money when approached by parents who desperately wish to hire his services to deprogram their brainwashed daughter Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

Written and directed by Riley Stearns, Faults, except for the ending, is actually intelligently written and offers incredible performances by Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. ┬áThe two acting talents share a wonderful chemistry and believably pull off a chess match of wits between deprogrammer and the brainwashed. The ending, however, feels rushed, illogical, nonsensical, and I just couldn’t seriously buy how it all plays out. The film and its talented filmmaker has potential, but the conclusion needs to be re-written and re-shot to work as a whole.


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