Palace of Fun (2016) – By Shari K. Green

 

Director: Eadward Stocks (Two credits… other is a short in prepro)
Writers: Eadward Stocks, George Stocks
Stars: Andrew Mullan, Phoebe Naughton, Holly Shuttleworth and George Stocks

Run Time: 1h 20min
Genre: Drama

You will love how Palace of Fury begins. You’ll be completely drawn in immediately, as I was, by the music, the color, the tone and be almost in a trance by all of its beauty until suddenly there’s a hard cut to a guy, Finn (Mullan), peeing into the toilet. It’s quite the shock to bring you back around but you’ll be hooked! We soon learn that Finn has recently met and likes or at the very least, is strongly linked to, Lily (Naughton) and is spending some time with her at her family’s sprawling mansion, complete with pool and tennis courts… something he’s never quite enjoyed before. The fact that he’s never enjoyed this lifestyle is unveiled rather quickly when Lily’s nosy and somewhat uncommonly erratic brother Jamie (Stocks) becomes suspicious of the man who is stealing his sister’s attention away from him. He rummages through Finn’s bag and gets his full name. With information in hand, he then searches Facebook and notices that Finn isn’t quite who he says he is. In fact, he’s someone else entirely, not Finn who, on Facebook, announces how upset he is that someone has made off with the bag he carried which held some of his most cherished possessions. Playing along, but not letting his sister in on the secret, Jamie directly asks Finn why he stole someone’s bag and therefore his identity and Finn’s answer is, “for the money.” However, the beats after Finn’s confession suggests there is much more to it. Who is he? Is he running from something?

Jamie doesn’t press; doesn’t ask him to leave or anything of the sort but rather sees an opportunity to have someone to push around. Jamie is an unusually controlling person. He prefers when things he most admires are near and wants what he wants when he wants it… and doesn’t take to be questioned very well. For Jamie, having this information on Finn means he can manipulate him, as he has always manipulated Lily, most likely playing his parents as he blamed dirty deeds on the poor girl. He has finally pushed the limits with her and feels that now she has met someone that will end his play. Now, all wrong is being rectified. He dangles truth above Finn’s head and maneuvers for more control over his new toy. He goes as far as exploiting him sexually, as well, which brings on the true grit as we enter the final scenes of the film.

Here’s a little back-story on the film itself. It’s written by brothers Eadward Stocks and George Stocks who produced with brother David. With their odes to and curious placement of classic films throughout the movie, it’s easy to see why this film was made. They love all aspects of film. Watching this you’ll have a hard time believing the fact that this was made on a small budget and that this was Eadward’s first feature film. It’s nicely shot, well produced and exceeds most expectations from a first time director. Their ‘love of cinema’ is made very clear with their creative and expertly crafted debut film.

George’s acting stands out more than the other cast members. His character was dark and much deeper than the others. Having written it, as well, he certainly gave himself the best of the spoils. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. The film was, by all aspects, quite a demonstration that a powerful drive leading to a strong effort can get you the results you seek. I believe that with more experience under their belt and as more of a budget is afforded them, these men are the stars of the future. Share some of the better parts in the cast with others, will ya, George?! It will be a pleasure to see him on the screen more often which I know will happen sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to learn more about the film go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3687898