I have this strange compulsion. It happens when I’m tired “ maybe on an aeroplane, or browsing Netflix on a plan-free Saturday. What happens is, I see a John Cusack movie (generally a thriller) from the last couple of years, that I haven’t really heard of and I think Yeah, that could be ok “ I’ll give it a go. Experience has taught me that this is a mistake, but still I continue to do it in recurring moments of weakness, in the forlorn hope that I’ll end up watching another Grosse Point Blank or High Fidelity. Since I don’t seem to be learning my lesson, I thought I’d put together a John Cusack movie review template to save a bit of time in the future.
In The Factory, Cusack plays a world weary¦ [DELETE AS APPLICABLE: hitman/government agent/ cop] burdened by [events of the past/a tough-to-solve crime/a lost love], in this case¦ a string of prostitutes have disappeared from the small town in upstate New York where he works. His character, Mike Fletcher has grown obsessed with the case over years of fruitless detective work, determined that these women, who nobody seemed to care for, or miss when they were gone, should have someone seeking them.
Things come to a head when¦ Cusack’s own daughter with whom he has a difficult relationship, also disappears, a victim of the same man who has stalked the town. Suddenly the case is even more personal.
The movie has some good points “ Cusack is, as always, good value¦ he lends his character a real sense of feeling beaten by the world but somehow refusing to give up.
In addition to Cusack’s performance¦ the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small town buried in the depths of midwinter is well realised as is the fear that stalks its inhabitants.
However, these positives are offset by¦ the fact that the plot drifts into absurdity, and some pretty unpleasant absurdity at that “ you get the feeling that the writer took a bit of inspiration from the torture porn genre and some of the scenes feel gratuitous and the characters’ behaviour grotesque and scarcely credible. Added to that is the terrible, signposted-a-mile-away twist ending that saps the last shred of sense from proceedings.
In all, this is another underwhelming additional to Cusack’s filmography. It’s a real shame that such a talented actor, star of movies such as The Grifters and Being John Malkovich is in such a run-of-the-mill, by the numbers thriller with so little in the way of innovation or ideas, with only its leading man giving it anything to make it stand out from the crowd. Here’s hoping sooner rather than later, he’ll be in something good and I can ditch this template.