- Director:Griffin Dunne
- Cast:Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland
- Release Date:August 27, 2008
- The Film:3.0
It's a mouthful, but "pop-anthropological social satire" is the easiest way to describe Fierce People....
It's a mouthful, but "pop-anthropological social satire" is the easiest way to describe Fierce People. Its protagonist is Fin (Anton Yelchin), a somewhat goofy teenager who's sequestered by his drug-addicted alcoholic masseuse mother (Diane Lane) to spend the summer at the estate of one of her wealthy clients, the eccentric Mr. Ogden C. Osborne (Donald Sutherland). Longing to follow in the footsteps of his famous anthropologist father, Fin soon realises that the isolated rich community occupying Osborne's massive estate forms a pseudo-tribe worth studying, and it's this allegory that gives the film its title. When Fin starts dating Osborne's granddaughter (Kristen Stewart), he's welcomed into the "tribe", despite the reluctance of certain members.
Fierce People's strength lies in its ability to extract comedy from seemingly humourless situations, and it initially has a fun jab at social mobility on America's East Coast. But two-thirds in, the film delivers a surprising shift in mood, sparked by a plot twist that rips it from its satirical bedding and immediately sobers the audience. What began as drama rooted in whimsy turns to grimness, and the abrupt change is not merely disorienting, but just plain awkward, especially after such an enjoyable first hour. Still, great performances from an impressive cast ensure that Fierce People ultimately stays on the rails.