Lost in sub-cultural translation
Doing away with his complex life as a “fixer” (a/k/a facilitator of news stories) for Western journalists reporting on the war in Afghanistan, Osman (Dominic Rains) winds up in a small, backwoods town in California. Inhabiting a couch of a friend’s mom (Melissa Leo) and rendering services as a crime reporter for a local paper, obsessed with finding purpose with his new life, he buddies up with a couple of sketchy locals (Lindsay [James Franco] and Sandra [Rachel Brosnahan]) to help him soak in the town’s unusual subculture. When one of his friends goes missing, Osman’s lured in and tangled in a web of the town’s darkened realities – some that even wind up a matter of life-and-death.
As a whole, I don’t know how I feel about the film. I definitely respect it and didn’t dislike it. Interesting concept and great cast makes it engaging and enjoyable. But its execution was a little (just a little) convoluted for me. Beyond a slow burn, too. However, it doesn’t hurt the film. The whole aspect of rouge journalism uncovering the same (but different) kinds of ugliness no matter where is a phenomenal “moral of the story.” Especially in a small town where most would think not much happens, and for someone like Osman whose outlook upon a new, foreign life is way different.
Its tone provides beautiful, uplifting moments for the film. What works as well is the gorgeous cinematography. I’m a fan of “grit.” THE FIXER is beyond grainy and dark, but exposes fantastic scenery and generates a palpable atmosphere. Slow pacing and some personal issues tying it up aside, THE FIXER has a solid premise and most of all… Heart!
Grade: B- / Genre: Drama, Mystery / Run Time: 1:43
Starring: Dominic Rains, Melissa Leo, James Franco, Rachel Brosnahan, Thomas Jay Ryan, Tim Kniffin
Directed by: Ian Olds