Fateful Findings

2 out of 5

Directed by: Neil Breen

What does one need to know about a Neil Breen movie before jumping in? Perhaps a listing of credits is helpful: on Fateful Findings, Mr. Breen handles directing, writing, producing, editing, is the lead actor, scores the film… and also does the accounting, craft services, makeup, location scouting, sound, lighting, wardrobe…

You’re likely already imagining some kind of low- / no-budget affair, with thoughts drifting towards so-bad-it’s-good territory, and any casual googling of Breen will bring up references that support those thoughts. An attempted plot summary of Findings – Breen’s third film of this variety – won’t shift that take, since the story is a mish-mash of half-there concepts that I’d struggle to even call “ideas” so much as back-of-napkin scribblings that are hopeful to become ideas: “author” Dylan (Breen) reunites with his childhood love, Leah (Jennifer Autry) partially via some mystic-jewel triggered dreamscape – Breen is always naked in this dreamscape – while his wife (Klara Landrat) suffers through a pill addiction and his friend, Jim (David Silva) berates his wife for not putting out. Also, Jim’s underage daughter has a crush on Dylan, as does every woman in the flick, who often bear shoulders and, tastefully, side-boob in their ardor. Also also, Dylan is writing a book about government secrets, but it’s not really a book, see, it’s just research. And also also, Dylan has some kind of psychic, walk-through-walls powers.

In a typical so-bad-it’s-good movie, all of this combines embarrassingly, or pathetically, infused with passion, or perhaps money-grubbing sloppiness, and maybe splashes of self-awareness, or faux-awareness, or some combination of all of these things, and one’s tolerance of how those balances work out makes watching such things better or worse.

Breen somehow shuffles slightly outside of these qualifications, though, pursuing his non-sensical films with vacant-eyed dedication, such that it seems like a lark, but somehow seen through to completion. Things… happen in the movie; shots are edited in odd ways; dialogue is repeated in odder ways; and this seems to follow some type of Breen logic, and has some internalized purpose, that you sense Breen would be happy to explain, but would likely be equivalent to just repeating some of the empty exposition from the film…

So what does one need to know about a Neil Breen movie? That they happen. You can choose to be in the room when they happen. Muse on how the name of this film may or may not tie into that experience.