We find that this thriller has rather lost its promised potency…
Pity poor Dakota Fanning: growing up, her mum is Cheryl Hines, who, to judge by Curb Your Enthusiasm, is pretty bloody difficult to live with. But as if that wasn’t bad enough, bloody Richard Gere is always just around the corner, like Denny in The Room, throwing himself onto the bed like some kind of 66-year-old man-child. Then, next thing you know, her mum and dad are bloody dead and all she’s got left is Richard Gere, who’s nice enough in a wow-dude-you’re-super-intense-and-it-makes-me-really-uncomfortable kind of way. When he’s not donating millions at a time to the hospital he owns, he’s wandering its halls doing a sort of Patch Adams act with the sickly kids, except Gere’s better dressed. Not only that, he’s paid off all Dakota Fanning’s husbands’ debts, too! Something’s up.
What could it be? Is he in love with the husband? As it turns out, no, but they do share some intensely homoerotic moments, especially an ecstasy-fuelled night out that provides the movie with its standout scene. Actually, he’s got an addiction to prescription morphine that, as it turns out, is of little consequence. He just sort of has this addiction, runs out of pills, tries increasingly desperate methods to replace the pills, then gets on with things and has a shave. It’s an admirable effort, especially for someone who starts the film looking like Pierce Brosnan’s Bond after 18 months’ North Korean imprisonment in Die Another Day. He gets a little less scruffy and a little less scruffy as the film goes on. Did I mention his wardrobe is pretty sharp? It is. You might find it’s small details like that that stick in your mind, as the film just coasts on and on with no real focus, a bit like life itself, really. Have you ever noticed that your morphine addiction is the dramatic, gripping central plotline of your life? No, you haven’t. It’s just another thing going on. Black-tie dinners, taking E you bought from a stripper, building a fort with a sick kid, morphine addiction, withdrawal, blah blah blah: It’s life’s rich tapestry.
And so it goes. Nothing of any consequence ever happens, and I can feel the details of the film slipping from my mind as I type, not because of short-term memory loss brought on by morphine addiction but because the film leaves the lasting impression of a TV movie.
The Benefactor is available on DVD and Digital Download today (29th February), will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!