The Benefactor (2015)

(Video on Demand, April 2016) I must be watching too many thrillers, because I kept expecting The Benefactor to slip into one even as it does not intend to do so. The premise certain suggest that it could be, though, as a single rich older man fixates on improving a young couple’s life, even when they come to resent his intrusion. There comes a few points where another kind of film would have jumped the rails into thriller territory—the older man killing the husband, trying to get close to the widow, etc. But The Benefactor, as it turns out, is a drama about an older character trying to work through his psychological issues. It’s a story of redemption rather than obsession and Richard Gere isn’t bad at all as an older man trying to work his way through a terrifying amount of guilt. Much of the film plays with an uncomfortable undercurrent of tension, sometimes undistinguishable from cringing. It does eventually lead to a hopeful place, though, albeit the mannered way it gets there is almost enough to make anyone wonder how a straight-up thriller version of the base premise would have turned out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *