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August 24, 2011

Movie Review: Fierce Friend (2010)

FIERCE FRIEND is one of those thrillers that takes a normal, every day kind of relationship and gives it a dark twist by making one of the participants a psychopath. Movies like THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, THE CRUSH, THE STEPFATHER and even THE BAD SEED all come to mind as examples of this kind of story. I liked this modest entry into the sub-genre, which emphasizes character and performance over thrills and grue.

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The story concerns two boyhood friends, Patrick and Bobby. Patrick is a shy loner who is befriended by popular, out-going Bobby at a young age. Later, as adults, they share a house as Patrick pursues his acting career. But then comes April, Bobby's girlfriend, who moves in with them. Patrick, whose whole life is centered around his friendship with Bobby, begins to feel threatened and, yes, jealous. Patrick starts a covert campaign to break the two up which leads to darker and darker levels of his obsession for his friend.

Homosexual subtext is unavoidable in a story like this, and I liked that the filmmakers did not shy away from this. While no sexual activity occurs between the two, Patrick clearly feels like a jilted lover. The gay subtext is also illustrated by the character Roy, a gay friend of the couple who starts to suspect Patrick.

The body count in this one is very low, and all the killings are off-screen. Splatter fans may be disappointed, but I found it refreshing. I get burned out sometimes on the in-your-face stuff, and I was happy to see something with old-fashioned story values.

The performances are all very good, especially Kevin Kelly (who also co-wrote the literate script) as Patrick. DP Nicholas Klein does slick, professional work, and director Jacob Cooney respects his players and lets them carry the picture.

All in all, not a bad way to spend 70 minutes.

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