A down on his luck cult expert is hired by a couple to deprogram their daughter in the new online film Faults.
CREDIT: Alarm Pictures
Ansel Roth Phd (played brilliantly by Leland Orser), is the author of a best-selling book about cults. He also had a television talk show that ran for 23 episodes. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on cults and mind control. Actually, he was. A cult follower ended up killing herself after appearing on his television show, and this led to his downfall, not only from being rich and famous, but also causing the end of his marriage, which led him to stupidly sign the rights of his hit book over to his ex-wife. Now broke, living out of his car, he’s trying to make a comeback. He’s written a new book called ‘Follower: Inside the Mind of the Controlled.’
However, the book has not done so well. In fact, it was self-published with the money put up by Roth’s agent Terry (Jon Gries). And Roth has been relegated to giving presentations in small hotel conference rooms in the hopes that the attendees will buy his book (for $15.00) and have him autograph it (for $5.00 extra).
At one of his seminars an older couple (Chris Ellis and Beth Grant) ask him for help in trying to get their daughter back. She’s joined a cult and they feel that they are slowly losing her. They ask for his advice, and he sees this as a moneymaking opportunity. So Roth accepts the ‘job offer.’ In order to deprogram the daughter, he has to kidnap her and keep her in a hotel room for five days. The daughter, Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) doesn’t put up much of a fight, she’s actually calm, cool and collected (traits that she learned from being in the cult). Roth spends the next few days getting to know her and to try to understand why she’s joined the cult – it’s a battle of two strong personalities that doesn’t play out as expected. Meanwhile, Roth has Claire’s parent in the adjoining room waiting for right moment when Roth says they can reunite, but he also has Terry”s henchman chasing him for the money that was loaned to him to publish the book. Roth’s just trying to do the only thing that he knows what to do. And he hopes that it will turn out right and that he gets paid so that Terry can back off. Oh, and of course, that Claire will come around and see that the cult she belongs to is brainwashing her.
Faults plays out like a television movie, but a very good television movie, with the performances (and direction and script) first rate. Orser couldn’t be better as Roth. Down on his luck but always getting back up, ready to use his skills (and personality) to deprogram Claire. Orser, a regular on hit television shows such as ‘Ray Donovan’ and ’24,’ is fantastic. It’s a wonder he’s not a much bigger movie star up there with Nicholas Cage and Benedict Cumberbatch. Winstead is fine as the troubled (or is she?) daughter, deeply loved by her parents, but who feels that being in the cult is the best thing for her. The direction, and especially the snappy and quick script, (by Riley Stearns, who is married to Winstead), makes ‘Faults’ fascinating, dramatic, and witty at all the right moments. It’s a must must must see.
‘Faults’ is now on demand in the UK in the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon instant Video, Blinkbox, Filmflex/Virgin, Wuaki, Googleplay, Sky, and Sony.
by Tim Baros
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.