Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Briefly - Fractional

A psychiatrist finds himself tied up to a chair in a garage with a number of rather sharp and painful looking tools awaiting his flesh. That's the way writer-director Malcolm Deegan begins Fractional, a micro-budget Irish indie from 2011 starring Desmond Daly as John, the captive shrink, and Peter O'Toole as David, a former patient who would like to take his old doc for an unwanted trip down memory lane.

Over the course of five days John is tortured, sometimes physically but mostly psychologically (for a flick that looks like it belongs to the sub-genre of torture-gore, the squeamish don't have to worry about having too much to handle here). David would like to get down to the aspects of John's past dealing with his departed wife, another woman and the less-than-professional behavior shown relating to all. Some twists in the plot show up along the way to inject new insights into what David is up to here and what John may have been responsible for before.

For a low budget/true indie effort, there are some good points to Fractional - the light and shadows of the garage setting works atmospherically and there are enough plot twists to snap some attention back to the proceedings when attention wanes, which happens a few times. And O'Toole delivers a pretty compelling performance as the tormented ex-patient turned tormentor.

But weaknesses do spring up - the 93 minute running time felt like it was padded by at least a quarter-hour. Daly tries his best but some of the dialogue from his mouth and attitude written on his face struck me as being unrealistically cocky for a guy finding himself in his position. Others may think that's just how his character is but I still found it bothersome. The ending, with the final revelation as to what the relationships of all the characters has really been about will strike some as implausible and others as predictable from as far back as several minutes before.

Fractional is probably best appreciated by fans of earnest low-budget productions that shun Hollywood gloss and don't mind some of the predictable warts that goes with a number of the micro-budget indie fare available. Click here for the rent/buy options.

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