Even if crime doesn’t pay, it can be pretty funny. But when the bill comes due, the bottomline must weigh the tears against the laughter, and with plenty of both, Fate Alchemy seeks to tip the scales in search of the elusive answer.
The 79 minute Ace Blankenship feature begins under the cover of darkness and the gun. In the shadows, Marty (Carly Robinson) wants to know where a criminal colleague is, and despite her victim probably not knowing, the imposing nature of Robinson’s performance say that erring on the side of caution is no problem. She’s going to town on the hapless woman, and worse comes to worse, Marty gets to take her frustration out on someone.
But bang, a lighter side emerges in the present. A home party has friends gathering, and there’s good drink and good cheer to signify the closeness.
In accompaniment, a country music sounding song called Tempted, almost annoys but not so much because of its rhythmic and lyrical banality. These people have mastered happiness, and we envy how easy they’ve made it.
Drawn in as the viewer, ain’t life grand? Adding on, Tweed (Beck Lloyd) makes us feel that whatever bumps are ahead, he will iron them out. The morning after, Lloyd’s VoiceOver introduction to his life feels a lot like a grown-up version of Ferris Bueller and has us disbelieving the opening scene.
We then learn of the affection that Tweed has for his girlfriend, and the fact that he doesn’t sugarcoat makes a statement. Highs and lows, the admission reveals a truly loving relationship. Enter Layla (Savanna James) and the point is reinforced by the entire locomotion of the actress’ presence.
Made for each other, the synergy further verifies the pragmatics that rule Tweed, and in keeping, he has long understood that a living would not come traditionally.
Crime is going to have to pay, and the moment has arrived where Tweed can hit pay dirt. The amiable grifter is buying 80,000 hits of LSD, and the street value return will yield 800 grand. Of course, Lloyd makes it all sound exceedingly straightforward.
Alongside, Tweed’s partners in crime are next. Jamie, Stevie and Tweed are not siblings. But their morning after banter makes a strong case for the trio being brother from another mother or two.
First, Stevie (Jeffrey Jordan) is the group’s lovable screw up. He always seems a step behind the conversation, and Jordan piles on reality by not overselling the dumb guy routine.
Then Jamie (Ken Blankenship) takes on the role of the hammer, and while Blankenship is plenty jovial, his violent edge bubbles right below. So the explosion doesn’t have far to go when the moment calls for it.
Once again, though, Tweed’s home life shines, and the effect is doubled down by the way the scenes play out. There’s an almost slow motion delivery of the imagery, so life seems like a dream.
Of course, if any of them had a day job, it could come true. In this, the cinematic framing of the scenes by Christian Sales implies the inevitable undoing.
The characters are often viewed in a shadowy purview, while natural light tries to infiltrate from outside. A full escape in range, it’s still too far because any mistake can turn the whole life force of these characters into a nightmare.
Hoping otherwise, the fate of almost every tragic crime movie tells us what’s to come, and the tone abruptly follows suit. The best laid plan suddenly goes awry and Tweed, Stevie and Jamie are left scrambling.
They do so by falling back into their respective roles, and as a result, their endearing traits aren’t so amusing anymore. The same goes as Layla gets caught in the crossfire, and Marty is the one holding the proverbial gun.
Thus, the ammunition Marty wields is verbal. It enters the chamber as a chilling calm and exits with the exploding force of a hollow point bullet. The terror induced is unforgettable.
The rest is not much better but what about the balance sheet? Tweed goes Shakespearian and brings the inconsequentiality of our finite lives into focus. Just hold onto the good times, Fate Alchemy tells us. . . because you never know when they are going to end.