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International Premiere
  • USA
  • 2014
  • 93 mins
  • DCP
  • English
Official Selection, SXSW 2014

“An exceptionally clever tightrope walk from start to its delicious finish ” - Stephen Saito, THE MOVEABLE FEST

Ansel Roth (Leland Orser) used to be a renowned specialist on cults, mind control and brainwashing techniques, with a best-selling book and a TV show. But a “deprogramming” intervention on a young woman, which ended tragically, a few years ago cost him everything: his reputation, his show and his marriage going up in flames with his book earnings. He’s now a lonely, sad and weakened man, carrying his washed-up life in his beat-up car and surviving on the occasional speaking engagement in dingy locales. On top of it, he owes money to his manager for his self-published second book that never sold. After a talk given in another lame motel, an old couple approaches him: their daughter Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is stuck in a cult called Faults and they need his help to make her come back to her senses. Given the facts that kidnapping someone to perform an intervention is somewhat illegal and that he doesn’t really give a shit anymore, he’s not too keen on making the effort. But the couple is pretty desperate for his help and the money made would cover what he owes to his manager, who’s growing quite impatient. So there begins Claire’s abduction for a few days of “deprogramming retreat”. Break her down, have her question her cult’s beliefs, and everything goes back to normal for everyone. Simple enough…

A first feature for Riley Stearns, FAULTS is a slow-burning but thoroughly engaging huis clos, a smart and assured essay on the creation and breakdown of faith, a meditation on the manipulation of certainty and doubt. Far from being self-serious, the film begins on a darkly comedic, absurd tone that never entirely leaves as the drama seriously sets in. Star and co-producer Mary Elizabeth Winstead (SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, and the forthcoming American remake of LES REVENANTS (THE RETURNED) has earned critical praise for her turn as Claire. Leland Orser gives a commanding performance, portraying a desperate man who was actually brilliant at what he did but let life walk all over him, getting a second chance at changing one’s beliefs. But is Claire’s mind the one that needs saving? From a Fault Comes a Way.

— Stephanie Trepanier