“Franny”, which just played at the recent Tribeca Film Festival, is a mesmerizing look at a young couple’s invasion by a man named Franny, played boldly by Richard Gere. “Franny” stars Dakota Fanning (Olivia) and Theo James (Luke) who play a young couple about to have a baby, while Luke is fresh out of med school trying to get a job. Franny, (Gere) enters the picture as a family friend of Olivia’s parents, who are now deceased, due to a previous car accident. Franny gets Luke a job in his hospital that he resides over. All seems to be running smoothly until Franny continuously infiltrates the young couple’s world crossing the line of appropriateness. As Franny continues to invade Theo and Olivia’s world, it becomes clear that he is running further away from his past as it relates to Olivia’s parents, while drowning himself in alcohol, drugs and volatile behavior.
“Franny”, directed and written by fist timer, Andrew Renzi is good at luring it’s audience in methodically touching on the people we hold close in our lives due to past relationships, even though they may be unhealthy. Fanning’s, Olivia trusts and reunites with Franny with no questions asked based on her deceased parent’s relationship they had with their friend. His odd, eccentric and overly generous behavior is overlooked and found amusing at first, and she trusts Franny due to the long history of friendship he shared with her parents. Additionally, Gere holds nothing back as the overbearing and eager to please Franny who fools people into liking him, until he begins to spiral out of control. Gere is at his best these days in films like this, and “Abitrage” where he commands the screen as a self-righteous and self-serving character that you can’t take your eyes off of, a type that could easily be passed over as a prick.
As Franny continues to find his way into the young couple’s world by buying them a house to raise their unborn child and paying off Luke’s school debt, he manages to win Luke over, thus showing the incredible power certain people can have preying over other’s weaknesses. Scenes between Theo James and Richard Gere take the audience to thriller heights, showing one man’s quest to take another down to serve his own needs. Scenes involving the drug ecstasy give new meaning to letting go for both Luke and Franny as they takes on a risky curve.
Dakota Fanning does a great job of pulling back emotion, showing that less obvious emoting can be more effective, especially when acting opposite the larger than life Gere. Fanning says more in this role with her face than she does with her words – a fete that many actors should take note.
“Franny” is a great first time film from Andrew Renzi, which plays as an effective and luring drama with thriller tendencies. Ultimately, it’s the cast led by Gere which make this a compelling film worth your time when it opens in theaters.