The Factory-Review

by Chris Conway

The Factory – A Well Built Film You Should See! by Blood E. Bastard

The history of cinema has been riddled with mistakes and what-ifs. We hear it all the time – studios, actors and directors who either took on projects that did not pan out the way they had envisioned or sometimes (worse yet) they passed on one that became a hit by all measurements. And while a David Lynch-directed Return of the Jedi probably would still have people asking, “What just happened?” or 9 hours of Will Smith as Neo in the Matrix Trilogy may have had a few more laughs, we can’t sit around obsessing over the possibilities.

I bring this up for my review of the Warner Home Video release, The Factory (being released on 2/19/13) because I feel Hollywood, in general, is making some grave mistakes. The Factory has all of the essential elements of a good film except for one: perceived marketability to a large audience. The Factory never even got the courtesy of a token theatrical release most likely because of some cookie cutter focus groups.

The plot concerns itself with a series of winter disappearances of Buffalo, NY streetwalkers for over 3 years. The film opens with detective partners Mike Fletcher (John Cusack) and Kelsey Walker (Jennifer Carpenter) lamenting over the news that their 3-year investigation into the possible murder of these prostitutes is being called off as no bodies have ever been found.

When a pre-op transsexual hooker is reported missing, Mike and Kelsey put themselves on the case, trying to connect this disappearance with the others just as cold weather sets in. Shortly into the investigation, the next to go missing is Mike’s 17 year-old daughter, Abby (Mae Whitmam), at the hands of a perpetrator played by Dallas Roberts. When he brings Abby back to his home, we discover that some of the missing woman are still alive and part of some sort of elaborate breeding program.

Cusack, who has sometimes suffered over the years by his choice of projects (which may have slightly tarnished his star), brings his A-game as always. He is on point and believable as the run down, mean-street city cop, beaten down husband and desperate father. The same can easily be said for Carpenter who brings something new and different to her role as a detective. She is both figuratively and literally thousands of miles away from her potty-mouthed, beer-chugging, angst-ridden Detective Debra Morgan character from TV’s Dexter.

Director Morgan O’Neill, who also co-penned the screenplay, keeps the narrative driving at a nice pace. Using this desolate winter setting of a long depressed city, he builds both a mood and pessimism that appropriately runs its course through the narrative.

The Factory should be a pleasant surprise as you sift through the countless films (most of them deservedly) categorized as “direct-to-video.”

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