Solutions deals with the relationship of a father (David P.B. Stephens) and son (Oise Ohiwerei), which starts to grow stronger when Derek finally lets Damon into his work life. Derek can do anything for the right price and his current assignment, make businessman James Cross mayor, by any means necessary. Directed by Zachary Halfter and co-written by Stephen Pavlics.
A film that opens on a man speaking in a deep, wise voice and pouring himself a glass of hard liquor, is a little bit more convincing when that glass doesn’t say “Baileys” on it. As far as cinematic stories go, tough brooding characters don’t normally drink Irish Cream at the end of a hard day; it sounds overly picky but it’s something that was so easy to change and takes that little attention to detail, things are dampened from the off. It’s not helped by the fact that the opening is so strongly trying to recreate something that belongs in 40’s noir, it’s beyond out dated and belongs in a spoof not a drama.
Things take a turn for the better when the plot finally kicks in and we get a very underhanded political deal between Derek (Stephens) and James Cross (Timothy J. Cox), this is where the film is at its strongest. The dialogue is nothing new, it’s a recycling of many a line from film and television but the acting is convincing and it gives the film an edge of tension and suspense, with a little bit of mystery. Sadly, once Derek’s son enters into the scene, their very lacking chemistry or banter dampens things once again, topped off with a score that would do better in a 70’s porno.
The plot from there becomes too ridiculous, not in the sense of the actual acts but that any decent father, or political fixer for that point, wouldn’t let his son be involved; without spoilers once the conclusion is reached, it’s hard not to simply think that all it means is Derek is a really awful parent and extremely overpaid for his work. A particular bathroom scene comes across as less covert operations and more the actions of a pervert, though in Ohiwerei’s defence, this isn’t due to his acting but the unnecessary lingering direction. Also, it might be a good point to note that it’s never beneficial to include an unnecessary, very irritating high pitched and extended note in the ending of your film, so you may want to have the volume on low towards the end if you’re planning on watching.
Sadly Solutions has too many weak elements to make something worthwhile, a strong 2 minutes isn’t enough to save the whole film.