Arrows of Outrageous Fortune
Review by Mark Schwab
March 26th, 2019
With all the crazy/dysfunction on display these days in every corner of our society, it's no wonder that it would also seep into the indie film consciousness. And in my experience there are few filmmakers I can think of that can satirize the absurdity of today's times better than writer/director Mickey Reece. I was a huge fan of ALIEN; his black and white, hyper-stylized and brilliantly absurd distillation of Elvis and Pricilla Pressley's marriage. Although I wasn't as big a fan as most were of his follow-up, STRIKE DEAR MISTRESS AND CURE HIS HEART, it still showcased a truly original voice that I could respect. With his new film, ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, Reece once again proves that he genuinely fits the filmmaker's moniker of auteur.
Grounding himself in the "real world" this time, Reece introduces us with a fairly conventional set-up. Henry (a wonderfully droll Alex Sanchez) is an emotionally disconnected snark who, upon learning his father is near death, feels this is a perfect opportunity to tell him what a worthless jerk he is since he abandoned him and his mother years ago. His father George (Ben Hall) actually tries to apologize in the hospital but Henry is having none of it ("I don't have all day...how long is this going to take to wrap up?"). No heartfelt reconciliation here as George dies right after Henry calls him an asshole and expresses his gratitude that he's dying. Surprisingly, his father leaves Henry the family home - more of a mansion actually - and it is here where the crazy and weird kicks up a notch every few minutes as a parade of barely sane people from George's other life start showing up at the front door, forcing Henry to come face to face with a man's life that he couldn't care less about.
Compared to his ALIEN and STRIKE, DEAR MISTRESS..., ARROWS is probably the most accessible for virgin audiences to Reece's work but those previous two films did help me appreciate a little more as to what he was up to with this bonkers satire of family grievances and buried lies of the heart. The characters are whacked out, sure, but admittedly just this side of believable. I could almost make the leap that not only these folks exist but that they could indulge in the demented behavior on display here which is really saying something about today's culture. Or maybe Reece's insanity is leaking into my own. No matter, I'm game for whatever he wants to put up there on the screen.
Even though the last 15 minutes sputter a bit due to an out-of-left-field ending that doesn't quite match the previous sharp writing and directing, ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE is a terrific indie feature film with excellent performances, some gasping laughs and a confident writer/director that certainly keeps you on your toes as a viewer. Mickey Reece is that all-too-rare "sure thing" in independent filmmaking - a true original who will always surprise you.