The film premiered early in 2015 at the Tribeca Film Festival – the lucky attendees were able to be the first ones to experience the laborious story contriving The Benefactor. Announced to be out in theaters tomorrow, the 15th of January, the drama is the long-awaited feature film of director Andrew Renzi, known for his previous works, Fishtail and The Fort.
With an experienced, yet analogous cast comprised of Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning and Theo James, the constituents of image and story became increasingly focused on a non-sexual, rather avuncular relationship, with Richard Gere thus taking the role of the benefactor.
After the tragedy of losing his best friends, a married couple in a car crash, Olivia, the daughter, remains orphaned. Returning to the matter of Franny (short for Francis, meaning the ‘free one’), played by Richard Gere, it is necessary to call attention to the intimate relationship he bore with Mia and Bobby (Cheryl Hines and Dylan Baker). The remorse and abiding regret that Franny has been harboring ever since their death seems to have a penchant for remaining shackled to the sexagenarian. Moreover, the non-coincidental name choice reveals that Franny is incongruous with his persona – he is by far ‘free’, as his name states, conversely being fettered to his past and the predicament of his friends’ death.
Five years later, Franny receives a phone call from Olivia, who is eking out a life with her husband, Luke (Theo James) and seems to beseech his financial aid, since they are expecting a baby and Luke is unemployed. The dynamics of story wonderfully go back and forth through the perspective of the importunate billionaire who readily responds to the girl’s necessity, by bestowing frequent ‘gifts’. However, the surfeit of largesse, ranging from repurchasing Olivia’s childhood home to offering Luke a job as head of Franny’s eponymous charity seem to uncover the man’s persistent mien, a matter which draws the couple to withdraw the carte blanche from Franny’s hands.
Regardless of such attempts, the convoluted philanthropist continues to provide more favors, such as paying Luke’s medical school loans, consequently triggering the lurking truth to be outlined. Dark and terrifying, the truth implicates a haunting reality which provoked a compulsive altruism in Gere’s peculiar character.
Capturing with zest the genius of young actors, Dakota and Theo, renowned for their roles in Twilight and the Divergent series, the drama presents them with the possibility of growth in a way not quite witnessed before. Gere, on the other, hand illustrates the struggles and quandaries of a man on the brink of disaster.