When Greed Induces EVIL at “The Estate” reviewed! (Vertical Entertainment / Digital Screener)



Spoiled rich gay son George despises his cheapskate father.  George’s equal in age, and similarly spoiled, horny step mother Lux also equally despises the loaded philanderer who rarely stays in town, leaving them with little to do and with little money to do it with.  When they meet tall, dark, and handsome Joe at a bar and invite him back to their estate house, a psychosexual love triangle leads to a murder-for-hire plot against the patriarch billionaire to collection the opulent inheritance.   Complications arise when unbeknownst bastard children cause a legal clog in their pipedreams of being insanely well-off.  One murder after another begins to unravel not only their lust for wealth and each other, but also a deeper, darker secret to rue for the wealth they wished (and killed) for.

An over-the-top, narcissistic machination-built dark comedy of greed, self-importance, and lust is how I would personally define the first feature length film, “The Estate,” from director James Kapner.  Diverging from his own comedy web series, “Baker Daily,” to work again with Kapner, from their previous collaboration on the political lampooning “Baker Daily:  Trump Takedown,” is Chris Baker, screenwriter of “The Estate,” who not only pen strokes the worst-of-the-worst of diabolical super-egos but also plays one of the downright flamboyant scoundrels as the lead role.  Majority of “The Estate” takes place inside the grand titular location, compartmentalizing the indie film’s budget solely on the sordid activity of three main characters without much of else as a distraction.  The Los Angeles shot film is independently produced by comedy producer Rod Hamilton, Kapner’s business partner Adam Makowka, and the second producing credit for Alixandra von Renner (“Boogeyman Pop”), with Mark Boujikian, William Bruey, Nicholas Lyons, and Scott R. Long as executive producers and is made under the Stone Lake Production and Runners Films production companies. 

“The Estate” is a haute and brutish trio’s tale of sex, lies, and murder.   At the head of the snake is George, an entitled son seeking elegance and power as he longs in the background to attend the prestigious Black and White Gala, and is played bitingly by the film’s genesis writer, Chris Baker.  Baker, a Harvard graduate and a gay man, certainly utilizes both personal traits for George he’s clearly written for himself.  George is smart under that superficial Versace façade and, also, is a gay man looking for a romantic connection, but like any relationship single person, told by one’s own vantage point such as George’s, a wash of doughy-eyed thick-headedness just completely engulfs his rational senses when a pretty face suddenly shows up.  That rugged handsome face just happens to be of “iZombie’s” Greg Finley as hunky hitman Joe who George unexpectedly bumps into due in part of his oversexualized and, too, vain Stepmother Lux donned wonderfully with a wickedly crass tongue of comedienne, Eliza Coupe.  Together, a charcuterie board of carnality ceases to no end between the three in a back-and-forth, pass-the-man around pansexual affair with plotting and murder speckled in the middle.  Performances are concentrated with tongue and cheek, black matter comedy with ultra-ostentatious gab and garb to deliberately set the satirical tone metaphorically for the super-rich attitude of white, wealthy America.  With all that jazzy, pent-up, entitlement, add Eric Roberts into the mix, then you really get the worst-of-the-worst from the “Best of the Best” actor as the filthy rich patriarch.  Roberts can exude sleazy well with his own mannerisms and deliveries, solidifying his own Eric Robert’s laidback version of a despised billionaire debauchee.  “The Estate” rounds out with Rif Hutton (“The Thirteenth Floor”), Ezra Buzzington (“The Hills Have Eyes” remake), Lala Kent (“The Row”), Kyle Rezzarday, and “Hostel:  Part II’s” Heather Matarazzo as the tech-savvy lawyer office secretary who shamefully peters out after an interesting turn of events with the character’s involvement.

“The Estate” is one of those dark comedy thrillers where one wrongdoing subsequently creates a domino effect for more wrongdoings.  How’s that saying go?  Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.  Indeed, the characters do get what’s coming to them as one killing turns into two killings and two killings turns into three etc.  As the bodies pile up in between the bedroom sheets sex and the coy flirting during initial stages of affections, the kind where butterflies flutter inside the stomach, what turns from an aloof pair of spoiled rotten solitaries is a false confidence in blindly following boredom’s famished way of saying death and sex is all-around exciting.  There’s also this vying of the sexes to see who can sweep Joe off his feet and while there’s obviously no issue with the polyamorous pansexuality, the story’s a bit lopsided with Baker’s intimate scenes with Finley being more expositional compared to Joe and Lux’s more implied romps and that inherently leads viewers onto one obvious path without the spice of unexpected chance.  Though George is written to be an alter egocentric doppelganger of his creator, Chris Baker, the Frankenstein theory only works well to extent before seeping into obnoxious conceited territory.  This is where “The Estate” begins to show signs of wearing out it’s welcome with living in George’s weighted down perspective of the high life.  Purpose seems vague mostly yet “The Estate” is also one of those nonchalant, throwing caution to the wind dark comedy narratives, sinfully funny, for the sake of touting an exaggerated resemblance of a detached privileged mindset. 

Things are not so nice and cozy at “The Estate” that has arrived this October on VOD and in theaters from Vertical Entertainment. Clocking in a 85 minutes, “The Estate” is paced to fit the conspicuous cinematography from the Texas born Mike Simpson with mood lighting mixed with tinting and as well as using a spherical lens to set the current tone. Simpson keeps shots tights between medium and closeups for more intimacy between the trio as well as to keep within the confines of a smaller production and set location. Since a digital screener was provided, I can’t comment on the quality of the audio and video aspects, but “The Estate” comes with an eclectic soundtrack that includes tracks from Lucky Beaches, Viagra Boys, Ritchie Valens, Joy Downer, and Toots and the Maytals. There were no bonus material or after credit scenes. Witty, dark humor that teeters always on the cups of being too much for one sitting, “The Estate” deadeyes the caricatures of the 1% with fatal attractions and an inheritance stocked with greed culminating to an unbelievable finale

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