DVD Review - The Entitled

Kevin Zegers in "The Entitled"
Three, poor, college-age students kidnap three, wealthy, college-age students and hold them hostage, while calling the rich kids' three fathers for a hefty ransom. Prior to the kidnapping, the wealthy students act like they're entitled, and clearly the poor students don't like it, but what screenwriter William Morrissey presupposes is that the wealthy aren't the only ones who feel entitled in this story.

Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead and Transamerica) stars as Paul Dynan, a young Canadian who is in search of a job but hasn't found one yet. The story opens with him coming from a failed interview. His mom is sick and probably has high medical bills, and their home is also in foreclosure. Clearly, he needs the money, so he enlists the help of Dean, played by Devon Bostick (Survival of the Dead and Diary of a Wimpy Kid), and Jenna, played by Tatiana Maslany (Diary of the Dead).

Paul's plan is to take three, specific, rich kids who are all friends. They take Nick Nader, played by Dustin Milligan (90210), Hailey Jones, played by Laura Vandervoort (Smallville and V), and Jeff Vincent, played by John Bregar (Degrassi: The Next Generation). Paul wants them kidnapped on a weekend where all three of their fathers just happen to be hanging out together in a cabin out in the woods. Paul calls the fathers in a disguised voice and on an untraceable phone and says he wants a million dollars from each, wired to an offshore account or else their children die.

The fathers are obviously rattled and terrified. Nick's father is Richard Nader. He's played by Ray Liotta. Hailey's father is Cliff Jones, played by Stephen McHattie, and Jeff's father is Bob Vincent, played by Victor Garber. What screenwriter Morrissey wanted was some drama going on with these fathers. Most movies about parents who have their children held hostage depict them as one way, as rattled and terrified of course, but then grief-stricken or angry as they allow the cops to handle the situation. Morrissey takes out that element. They are no cops, so the conflict is amongst themselves.

The hostage situation happens within the space of one night and the hostage takers warn no cops or the kids are dead. Therefore, Morrissey leaves the fathers to figure out what to do alone. There's enough drama perhaps in that, but Morrissey tosses in another bone. While these fathers are all of considerable worth, not all of them are capable of coming up with the money. That and some other details point to the fact that the person behind the kidnappings may not be Paul and that Paul's connection to these wealthy men may not be all that it seems.

Morrissey has written an intense and edgy script with some nice, surprising twists. Director Aaron Woodley allows those twists to pass without getting the audience knotted up. He maintains the intensity and edginess from beginning to end, and he's able to allow us to connect to each of the characters here without losing any focus.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for language, some violence and drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr .and 31 mins.


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