Ties that Bind 

Plot blunders and tonal misfires plague Andrew Renzi’s inept psychodrama, The Benefactor, about a morphine addicted Philadelphia philanthropist (Richard Gere) interfering in the lives of an employee (Theo James) and his pregnant wife (Dakota Fanning), to relive a relationship with deceased friends. Although ostensibly set in the present—Ecstasy is called Molly, sophisticated laptops exist—none of the characters have cell phones, which, at one point, should’ve been used. To a convincing degree, Gere shows the erratic behavior of a dope fiend, but, in one episode, after suffering  withdrawal symptoms, he seems relatively better the following day. Other inconsistencies abound, like missing jackets and incongruous physicals reactions to horrible accidents. Although shot well, The Benefactor is inundated with an overwrought score and misplaced Western songs.

By Alec Julian & Carrie White


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