The Power of Few
Other // R // February 15, 2013
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted February 21, 2013
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When a fresh filmmaking technique is done correctly, other filmmakers will always be inspired to utilize that style. The Power of Few approaches its story-telling in a way similar to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, but there's a rather large gap in execution. Hollywood studios and independent entities must realize that we can't all deliver work as excellent as the top-tier directors in the business. Leone Marucci's newest flick The Power of Few made it possible for moviegoers to vote for certain aspects of the motion picture to appear in the finished product. This is one of the many reasons for this uneven movie with an ending more satisfying than anything else through the entire running time.

Over the course of twenty minutes, we follow various individuals within New Orleans, as they encounter crime-filled streets. An illegal operation ultimately draws together five different people, as audiences witness ongoings through the characters' perspectives. Each point-of-view has trends of violence, death, and the lack of responsibility. These topics are all explored in different fashions through each role. Those involved in this plot range from a cop, to a couple spies, to an armed teenager, and others. After seeing each of these characters' outcomes, an unlikely hero (Tione Johnson) appears with a bag of candy and a lot to say, which leads to a conflict of change.

While the plot itself is different from pictures similar to Pulp Fiction, the narrative's delivery is very familiar. Leone Marucci's screenplay and direction explore situations numerous times, only to see them again from another person's perspective. Unfortunately, there are so many roles on screen, that it feels like we're seeing the same thing too many times. Since there are so many characters, none of their stories receive enough attention. The opening segment involves a teenage boy (Devon Gearhart) who lives a difficult life, and is the only person genuinely trying to take care of his baby brother. This is one of the more meaningful stories, but Marucci doesn't give enough time for this character to grow and impact the audience. The same applies for a delivery girl (Q'orianka Kilcher) and a fugitive (Jesse Bradford). We're supposed to feel for these unacquainted lovers, when we're barely given any time to know them. Once the viewer begins to feel something for any of these characters, Leone Marucci moves on to the next point-of-view.

Perhaps the two strangest sets of roles would have to be a couple of spies (Christian Slater and Nicky Whelan) and two homeless men (Christopher Walken and Jordan Prentice). The first of the two feels out of place and removes the sense that we're following typical people in New Orleans. Neither of the spies are particularly interesting and they destroy any momentum the film carried. The two homeless men had some great potential, but they don't contribute much, either. While the trends are still present through their conversations, they make an extremely small number of appearances with only a couple interesting discussions to speak of. The stories I've written about thus far don't even cover all of the characters. Marucci's screenplay should have offered fewer perspectives to focus on, which would have allowed the audience to get closer with the leads. Unfortunately, the narrative is a complete mess, as viewers are kept at a distance from start to finish. How are we supposed to care about any of these people when we have to strain to even get a glance at them?

Leone Marucci's dialogue ranges from being sub-par to being quite decent. The words shared between the delivery girl and the fugitive become increasingly disappointing. While this could have been a perfect opportunity to express a series of genuine moments between two strangers who want to leave New Orleans, their interactions feel similar to a soap opera. Despite this letdown, The Power of Few offers Fueisha (Tione Johnson) some decent dialogue. Even if it isn't groundbreaking, her scenes allow the film to breathe. Fueisha has plenty of clever dialogue, which the picture desperately needed. It's a shame that the strongest portion of the running time can be found at the end, which is when Fueisha gets her chance to shine. While the movie leaves audiences with a good taste in their mouths, it doesn't make up for the large amount of disappointments found through the remainder of the feature.

Even with some familiar names, this cast is an absolute mixed bag. The two biggest names are Christopher Walken, as one of the homeless men, and Christian Slater, playing one of the spies. Walken is criminally underused in this role, as he doesn't get a single scene to deliver any of his talent. His character rants nearly every time he's on screen, but there isn't a lot for him to work with here. Even though Slater's character isn't very intriguing, he does what he can. Fortunately, this role provides him with more dynamics than Walken was given, even if it's pointless to the film's goal. The two worst performances to be found are Q'orianka Kilcher, in the role of the delivery girl, and Nicky Whelan, as the second spy. Both of these ladies suffer from incredibly awkward acting. They're both staged to the point where it's difficult to believe either of the characters' motivations. The Power of Few's surprise is Tione Johnson, who presents a solid performance as Fueisha. She's convincing and makes this the most likable role in the entire feature.

The Power of Few is an independent film that isn't afraid to show its roots. It doesn't boast a beautiful high-definition picture, but it doesn't need to. The cinematography clearly delivers an uneasy and gritty atmosphere, which compliments the trends found through the narrative. Not only does this motion picture accomplish its visual goals, but it's accompanied by an interesting audio track that isn't afraid to utilize every speaker in a 5.1 set-up. While the dialogue is easy to hear, this film utilizes ambient sounds quite well.

Even though this filmmaking technique isn't original, it still held some promise. Unfortunately, The Power of Few drops the ball rather quickly, and never manages to truly pick itself back up. There are far too many characters for writer/director Leone Marucci to handle, as he attempts to give them all a fair amount of screen time. The audience is constantly kept at a distance, which makes it difficult for us to care about what happens to them. The film rushes to fix itself towards the end of the third act, which is when Fueisha is brought into play. However, she isn't enough to save the entire motion picture. The Power of Few is a mess that isn't worth experiencing. Skip it.

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