The Factory (2013) - Can't Stop the Movies
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The Factory (2013)

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Turn on that Cusack morosityAndrew DISLIKE BannerImagine my shock and disappointment when I found out that John Cusack was not gearing up to provide a fresh take on Andy Warhol.  The shock came from the mess of torture-porn and cop cliches.  The disappoint sprung from the fact that Cusack, who is quite the leftie and opposed to violence off-screen, managed to find the time in his schedule to make a film in celebration of just that.  The Factory is a brutal, ugly, and nonsensical film delving into the worst that thrillers have to offer.

If you want a blurb then The Factory is a Saw approach to the post-Taken world.  Either that or it exists as a Taken-esque stab of violent independence and introduces it to the gritty violence of Saw.  Regardless of which chicken goes before which shell it should be said that the whole thing rather sucks by pulling the worst impulses from both of those films.  It turns out that combining backward views with a bit of the ol' ultraviolence doesn't do favors to either.

Cusack plays the sullen Mike Fletcher because that's the only kind of work he seems to get these days.  Mike was pursuing a killer many years ago who left a trail of dead prostitutes behind and few clues as to who did this.  If you glean that bit of information from the DVD case it shouldn't be too hard to guess the fate of the woman who is escorted into a dimly lit and sparsely furnished apartment by a nervous southerner in the opening moments of the film.  What may surprise you is the questionable detour the whole sequence takes.

Mae Whitman framed in some subtle foreshadowing. Just skip the rest of this review and go watch her in The Perks of Being a Wallflower instead.

Mae Whitman framed in some subtle foreshadowing.  Go watch her in The Perks of Being a Wallflower instead.

Movies dealing with violence toward women, prostitutes especially, seem to give themselves a pass to be unnecessarily graphic because it's one immoral act being punished by violence.  Slashers kicked off the more overt aspects of the trend years ago and it's seen almost every other genre.  So not only are we treated to a brutal gutting of the poor woman, we find out that she's actually a pre-op transvestite and is still in possession of a fully-functioning penis.  The appendage in question is deposited and frozen along with the rest of her meat before the still-erect phallus is tossed to a dog.

Yahoo Answers proved invaluable to the query I just had to ask the internet for kicks and, no, a penis does not stay erect if forcibly removed from a poor soul.  Obvious physical conclusions aside, the moment exists as a single example of a callous disregard of anything other than heroic males.  The killer, Gary (Dallas Roberts), captures women to impregnate them and ties them to beds, plays cartoons over their bodies, sets up dates in his dirty hotel, and generally acts as a collection of hideous impulses instead of an intriguing killer.  By the time his incubation chamber was introduced with pods and babies nestled comfortably within I was less in shock and more wondering how long it would be until he ate a baby just to twist the audience one more time.

So Mike gets involved because through an ironic turn of events his daughter (Mae Whitman) is kidnapped by Gary.  Director and co-screenwriter Morgan O'Neill displays the same propensity for writing heroes as he does villains and sticks Cusack into violently sullen mode for the duration of the film.  The supporting cast is tuned in likewise to this level like when dialogue explains Mike's partner Kelsey (Jennifer Carpenter) can't get pregnant and the camera cuts to a stack of fertility books on Kelsey's desk along with an unsmiling picture of herself.  Tone deaf?  Yes, but also hilarious.

Gary also eats some of his victims, presumably because someone involved in the production saw The Silence of the Lambs and said, "We can do that!"

Gary also eats some of his victims, presumably because someone involved in the production saw The Silence of the Lambs and said, "We can do that!"

That same level of skill applies to the visuals of the movie which is, above all, wet.  No matter the conditions, indoor or outdoor, everything looks like it was either just rained on or still in the process of doing so.  Another funny shot involved a parking garage that clearly has a roof but also a staff that apparently goes around throwing buckets of water everywhere.  The same people must have been hired to design Mike's headquarters for finding the missing women along with every other building in its world.

The Factory was set to be released in 2011 but could not find a distributor and now arrives on DVD.  There's no surprise why, it's a distasteful film but despite it's callous gender politicking (like the mother who disappears from the film once her daughter is kidnapped) there's no real controversy here.  The movie is akin to something a teenager with a dirty imagination and no sense of creative flow would create.  Scenes of torture drift in and out without connection or consequence until finally the film ends on a twist so preposterous it seems to have been made up as they filmed.

Time to drift away little film.  You're horrible, but you won't be remembered.

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The Factory - TailThe Factory (2013)

Directed by Morgan O'Neill.
Screenplay written by Paul Leyden and O'Neill.
Starring John Cusack, Jennifer Carpenter, and Dallas Roberts.

Posted by Andrew

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