Fierce People – DVD Review

It’s always interesting to see young actors in films before they become famous. Before they became faces and brands they were just struggling actors looking for good roles that could lead to more work. It gives you a valuable insight into where an actor’s abilities, and strong points, come from by seeing them early on when they weren’t established. It’s much like seeing an athlete before they go pro or a band that plays at a bar looking for the elusive record deal.

Chris Evans, Anton Yelchin and Kristen Stewart have exploded onto the acting scene as of late: Evans is about to become Captain America and had supporting roles in the first Fantastic Four franchise as well as nearly stole The Losers. Yelchin had major supporting roles in the Star Trek reimagining and McG’s relaunch of the Terminator franchise while the Stewart was the heroine of the Twilight films. What they did before they got there is sometimes as interesting as the roles that made them famous.

All three starred alongside veterans Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland in Fierce People before they became as famous as their co-stars. An indie film that never found an audience in theatres, Fierce People came and went with little fanfare. And that’s for a good reason: this is a film trying to be a quirky indie film without anyone of the necessary quirk.

Finn (Yelchin) and his mother (Lane) are invited to spend the summer with America’s seventh wealthiest man (Sutherland) on his palatial estate. Finn, a budding anthropologist, uses this opportunity to get an inside peak at what he presumes will be some in-depth studying of this “tribe” of wealthy folks. But all isn’t what it seems as the two discover that life amongst the wealthy isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

With a near two hour running time to begin with, Fierce People feels like it’s just beginning once it starts nearing the opening of its third act. There seems to be a rush to end the film that the film’s final act seems rushed when the time to get there has a nice, easy pace to it. Once the film reaches a point where it needs to wind down it does so very quickly; there’s a good 20-30 minutes that the film could extend itself by and keep its pace. It feels as if the more commercial aspect of keeping it under two hours won out over the story-telling aspect.

Fierce People remains a film, then, an interesting look at young actors before fame hit.

Presented in a Dolby Digital surround with a widescreen presentation, the transfer is good but not great. This was a low budget indie film and it shows as this is good but not brilliant.

Breaking Down the Tribe is a making of piece that focuses on the film’s production. It’s a fairly standard, if lengthy, EPK piece.

Deleted Scenes are there and were excised for good reason.

There’s a Commentary with Griffin Dunne.

Fierce People is an interesting look back to when a number of burgeoning megastars were just starting on their way, nothing more and nothing less.

Lionsgate presents Fierce People. Directed by Griffin Dunne. Starring Diane Lane, Anton Yelchin, Kristen Stewart, Chris Evans. Written by Dirk Wittenborn. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: February 5, 2008.

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