The Factory DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Warner Home Video
Directed by Morgan O'Neill
Written by Morgan O'Neill and Paul A. Leyden
2012, Region 1 (NTSC), 104 minutes, Rated R
Available on DVD and to download on February 19th, 2013
John Cusack as Mike Fletcher
Jennifer Carpenter as Kelsey Walker
Dallas Roberts as Gary Gemeaux
Mae Whitman as Abby Fletcher
Sonya Walger as Shelley
Mageina Tovah as Brittany
I'm a fan of John Cusack. He's one of those actors that tends to elevate the enjoyment of a movie, be it good or bad. So when The Factory hit my plate for review, I was a bit surprised that the film hadn't even been a blip on my radar. More so when I saw Jennifer Carpenter co-stars because I dug her in the Rec remake Quarantine and love her role as Deb Morgan in Showtime's Dexter. Especially that role. There's something incredibly sexy about a hot woman with a blue-collar attitude. But I digress.
In The Factory, Cusack stars as Mike Fletcher, a detective tracking a serial killer whose victims of choice are prostitutes, and Carpenter plays his partner Kelsey Walker. The two have been on the trail of this sociopath for years, but after Fletcher's daughter Abby (Mae Whitman) gets snatched after being mistaken for a whore, the detective throws all rules and regulations out the window in order to get her back.
The cast is absolutely rock solid. Aside from the aforementioned leads, Dallas Roberts (barely recognizable from his role as the Governor's sidekick Milton on The Walking Dead) plays Gary, the hunted serial killer, and effectively steals every scene he's in (including those with Cusak). Whitman does an admirable job as the bitchy daughter Abby — so much so, that it was hard for me to feel sorry for her once she found herself in Gary's basement. A little part of me felt she deserved some discipline. Sonay Walger and Mageina Tovah sell the roles of Gary's two other victims Shelly and Brittany (respectively). Although Tovah just edges out Walger as being more memorable. There's something about the ways she calls her captor "daddy" that just makes you feel so goddamn uncomfortable.
Yet The Factory is one of those bittersweet films that has all the pieces to be a great, but the ridiculous script gets in the way of it being something more than mediocre. The major problem is how convenient everything is. Abby was not kidnapped on purpose, which would have been a much more believable scenario what with her father tracking down a lunatic and all. No, her snatching is completely random. That wouldn't be so bad, however, if it weren't for the ridiculous (and I do mean ridiculous) turn in the last scenes of the movie. If you have to show the audience via flashback on why this "twist ending" should work, your writing has failed. Just like it has if I'm irritated with this desperate plot maneuver instead of impressed. While I won't give it away, it is eye-roll inducing. Don't say I didn't warn you.
But here's the rub: aside from the piss-poor attempt at a surprise ending, I actually liked the mean-spirited tone of the finale. In particular, the look one of the actors is giving the camera right before the credits roll is deliciously evil. Ironically, it makes me kind of want a sequel carrying on with that character's shenanigans, for a number of reasons.
At the end of the day, The Factory is not a bad movie. It's a barely average one that effectively blew its potential (which may be is part of the reason it's direct to video). The performances are fantastic, but the script leaves a lot to be desired. Even though the asinine attempt at a twist damn near overshadows the good to be found in the film, it's still worth a stream on Netflix for fans of Cusak, Carpenter, or the serial killer genre.
Video and Audio:
The Factory comes to DVD with a 2:40:1 anamorphic presentation. It's a pleasant enough picture with no real complaints, although it does seem to be a bit soft in some scenes. (To be fair, I haven't watched a standard DVD in a while, so this could be me being spoiled by Blu.)
The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio fairs a little better than the video, with nice use of the surrounds and bass kicks in nicely at times.
English, French and Spanish subtitles are available.
Aside from some trailers when you first put in the DVD, the only offering for a special feature is an UltraViolet copy of the movie.