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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was looking through the On Demand on my digital cable and found this
and it seemed interesting. I thought it may be very contrived and
formulaic but interesting, and what the hell-I was bored. I was drawn
into it instantly and cringed as it became more and more intense. I
almost just wanted to turn it off and just say to myself-- he got the
ticket and everything worked out. As he(Tepper) kept hiding his ticket
and sympathy went back and forth between Avery and everyone else I
wasn't sure what the good guy was.
I started to realize there weren't any good guys and liked it more because it was more like real life than many movies out today. THe twist ending at the end was great and the acting was superb. It was no Big Kahuna or Glengarry Glen Ross like someone else mentioned, but it was good for what it was. I look forward to see what else Jeff Probst has up his sleeve. It was enjoyable-- that is what the critics need to remember-- if it keeps you watching until the end to see what happens it did its job.
Despite the fact that this movie takes place in one location, it does
not drag or get boring - that in and of itself is a HUGE
accomplishment! I thought the story was great how it put the main
character into a sticky situation. All the characters had distinct
personalities, which kept their conversations entertaining. The
psychological suspense was strong. It's a movie wrought with tension. I
applaud an indie filmmaker (Jeff Probst) for pulling off a good movie
on a budget that is tiny compared to the studio budgets.
If you liked it, watch the director's commentary. Jeff Probst is very open about the process and how this film came into fruition (before he got his Survivor gig, by the way).
If you are looking for an indie film with some humor, psychological suspense, and good acting, check out this film.
THREE STARS - 82 out of 100 - 'Finder's Fee' is a Mamet-like conundrum
about a winning lottery ticket and the role it plays in a friendly weekly
poker game amongst friends. Jeff Probst, of Survivor fame, wrote and
directed this film on a miniscule budget of $1,000,000. He does a fantastic
job for a first time filmmaker. The film moves along swiftly, never leaving
time for you to check your watch. There are some really tense moments that
will have your pulse racing, which is pretty impressive for a film that
takes place almost entirely inside one apartment. The only thing that fails
the film is the drastic overacting from some of the supporting
Palladino does a great job in the lead role as the young man, on the verge of proposing to his girlfriend, who finds a wallet on the rain soaked streets of New York. Inside the wallet is a winning lottery ticket worth in excess of $6,000,000. After a phone call to the only phone number in the wallet, James Earl Jones shows up to claim it.... sans the $6 mill. Both Palladino and Jones are very good here. And Carly Pope has a small role that deserves some praise.
However, what really derails the film is the performances of Matthew Lillard, Ryan Reynolds and Dash Mihok. The main culprit is Lillard, who obscenely overacts his part every chance he gets. The man is truly incapable of subtlety in any performance and it is most notable here. This is an obnoxious distraction and it overshadows the many things that are so right about this film. Reynolds and Mihok are forgivable, although they both have some truly awful moments that will make you cringe with embarrassment for them.
I am still giving the film a solid recommendation... the story is original and tense, and the screenplay is very crafty. Probst easily does enough to merit a career as a director... he should get more work in this field as soon as Mark Burnett releases him from his island-hopping duties! If only the supporting cast had not tried so hard to steal the film from Probst and the two main leads, this would have been a small treasure. As it stands, 'Finder's Fee' is a good little film that will serve as an enjoyable rental. -- Critical Mass Movie Reviews - www.tccandler.com
Jeff Probst tight, unassuming film was a rare find. Saw it on cable, and
since this is an indie film, one has to take one's hat to the director for
having made the movie.
The question that came to my mind is what would anyone do with the possibility of sudden wealth, one that is achieved by ill gotten means. The question, plays havoc with Tepper, who knows what he has in his possession. His friends have no clue to what's really happening and why is the stranger, Avery, allowed to stay and participate in the card game.
Tepper made a mistake at the beginning of the film when he notifies about his finding. He lives to regret it, but ultimately, his own sense of decency when all goes haywire around him, takes hold of him and he does the right thing, or does he?
The cast was very good. The action seems, at times, like a filmed stage play, but the performances by all save the film from being boring or losing the audience's interest. Erik Palladino is quite good as Tepper, the man with a conscience. Mathew Lillard, as Fish, is never dull. Ryan Reynolds and Dash Mihok round up the quartet of friends that meet for a card game.
James Earl Jones is at times mysterious and a figure of pity because we all know what he must be going through, but then again, he had been playing with the quartet of friends and with the viewer.
Good job by Jeff Probst.
This movie takes place in real time, one night in an NYC apartment. Our hero finds a wallet and tries to return it before he discovers that it contains a winning lottery ticket. His buddies show up to play poker and so does the owner of the wallet. It's a fun ride that explores the themes of loyalty, honesty and friendship. What's great about this movie is how such a simple idea quickly turns into an intellectual thriller. It's sad that movies like this are so rare. This is a movie about real and complex characters in which the acting is so seemless that you can relax and enjoy the story. Too often I find myself "working" during a film, trying to stay emotionally involved with the story when the actors are clearly just saying their lines, or the characters are merely slaves to someone's idea of a clever plot. No such problem here. The five main characters are played to perfection by an amazing cast and their actions drive the story from one scene to the next toward a dramatic conclusion.
I thought this movie was fun and interesting, the story is simple, but
the modern setting and the idea of the lottery ticket made it attention
For a movie with no great effects and sounds, i could not walk away while it was on....i did not want to miss the ending twist. Yes, the movie is predictable to the point that you new there would be a grab you ending, but I like expecting that and you never know who is at the door.
The characters all had their own querkyness about them that draws you, as we can all relate to one of them. I give this movie two thumbs up and suggest everyone sit down and enjoy a simple yet interesting movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was a great movie, for what it was. 10/10 as far as first time
directors doing a film on a 1 million dollar budget.
The rest of the message is a SPOLER ----------
The ONLY thing that keeps me from absolutely loving this movie is that I don't understand the plot twist at all, or how it's even possible, and I've been racking my brain to figure it out, so I'm hoping someone knows.
How is it possible for there to be a second Avery Phillips? Obviously the first was a fake, or the second one was... but unlike The Sixth Sense for example, you can look back and see where you MIGHT have picked up on it.. twists are easy if you don't have anything in the story that gives it away the second or third time you watch it.
If he left this message for Avery's brother in law, then how in the hell did someone else hear it? He didn't say he had a winning lottery ticket in it, just that he found the poor guy's wallet. I highly doubt someone showed up JUST for the wallet, and knew about the winning ticket. Therefore, who would know that Avery lost his wallet, that he picked the winning numbers, and that the ticket was even in the wallet? He mentioned that he bought it from the same store, the same numbers, from the same guy, until this last time it wasn't the same guy who punched the numbers... maybe it was the same guy, and that was James Earl Jones.. who would know about the ticket, but how on earth would he know Tepper had it? The brother in law might have known, and he could have been the brother in law.. but if that's the case, then how did the REAL Avery Phillips show up at the end... why would his brother in law plan to steal it, but still give him the message and the address to Teppers? The fake Avery also had to know about the parking tickets as well. How on earth would he know that? The police couldn't have been in on it, or that would just be stupid, and I want this movie to be great not stupid. They could have just busted in, and made up a phony charge and got the ticket outright... why come all the way down just to seal up the building? And another poster commented about Forrester knowing it wasn't the right ticket.
So if someone can tell me what I'm missing, and if there REALLY is a good explanation, the movie will be 11 out of 10 for me... otherwise anyone can make a surprise ending if they didn't give any clues, or even made it POSSIBLE.
Hope someone knows. Thanks.
I saw this film last year at the Saugatuck Film Festival (and even got to
meet the stars of the film Robert Forster, Dash Mihok, and Erik
and loved every minute of it. The place was sold out and everyone at the
theater loved it.
What would you do if you found a wallet containing a winning lottery ticket worth $6 million? That's how the movie is set up in this fast paced film with great acting. James Earl Jones is great as always, Robert Forster has a small but memorable role, but I was very surprised that Matthew Lillard did such a good job in the movie. But the obvious star of the movie is the script. Written and Directed by Jeff Probst, there are so many great plot twists that keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. You won't believe some of the things you discover when watching this movie.
If you can find this movie somewhere, I highly recommend it.
**** out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With Jeff Probst as director, I didn't have high expectations. The
premise sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a go.
Happily, this movie was much more than I expected. Enough for me to write my first movie review. And look for the next movie by Probst. I would recommend this to anyone and glad to have it in my collection.
The premise of a young man, who is shown to be thoughtful and caring , who finds a wallet containing a winning lottery ticket and the turmoil within that ensues. The plot was realistic, set in real time, with what I consider to some very real decisions and choices by real characters. There were some good plot turns that weren't expected which is always a nice treat keeping the movie moving - I never thought "ok lets move on".
These were real characters, in which I could see a lot of my friends in. They were quickly set up and I found that great. The lead character, Tepper, was well acted by Erik Palladino, in which you could relate to his turmoil. Matthew Lillards character was obnoxious - a little over the top, but well acted. He definitely could have been toned down. I felt that he was given too much camera time and not enough to Ryan Renyolds character. Quigley should have been more developed - it was as though he was thrown into the cast at the last minute - possibly to give the movie a little more "star power".
The movie is not perfect, but then there never is. Most of the holes that others pointed out, I felt were mainly due to bad choices by the characters. As in real life, we make bad decisions at the time or someone else may see that we made a bad decision. These weren't flaws where you say "that is impossible". Personally I found this movie to be thought provoking, and many of the reviews over-analyzed it, missing the point.
NOTE: I personally like the "redial" scene, as it made me think - it wasn't in my face like a country song.
If I had to pick 1 thing I didn't like...it was probably the twist at the end. I like a subtle clue or 2 where you say at some point in the movie, "I wonder if".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoiler first: If you have a preference for resolved endings that close
the books, happily or otherwise, then this film may leave you just this
side of angry. On the other hand, if you like Hitchcock, 'Outer Limits'
and/or 'Twilight Zone' you'll probably be very happy. I would have been
better off with a warning.
Note: I saw the broadcast TV version, no swearing.
The movie is cleverly constructed to make you *think* while moving closer and closer to the edge of your seat. The viewer absolutely *must* pay attention or loose a lot of important little things as well as the giant, surprise U-turns/twists.
For my part I approached the movie with skepticism because I have turned over found wallets and bank bags with no thought, no ethical dilemma. I don't understand the minds of those who have to think about the right thing to do. But this film is so well done I forgot all about myself and became caught up as though I were one of the walls in the room.
Speaking of walls, it just now hit me that the main characters never leave the room in which they are playing poker. Not once did I feel claustrophobic, never did I come out of the movie from 'stale set' fatigue.
So I recommend "Finder's Fee" for those with a yen for suspense, and I hope you enjoy it!
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