Directed by Rubidium Wu whose previous credits include Brooklyn Tide and The Silent City, ‘The Devil’s Fortune’ is an action thriller that stars Conner Keene, Craig Ng, Kiri Hartig and Derek S. Orr.
The Devil’s Fortune sees James (played by Connor Keene), a hedge fund manager, arrive at the office one day to see his boss decapitated. Shocked beyond belief at the sight he has just witnessed, James goes on the run thinking that he will be framed for the murder and forgotten in the system. The murder turns out to be the work of Iraqi agents who are actively looking for James due to his bosses’ misdeeds. With sky high stakes that may well end his life, James will have to find a way to throw the agents, law enforcement and everyone else off his trail if he is to have a chance at a normal life. This task will not be easy as James will find it increasingly difficult to trust anyone as a slew of bad actors position themselves to take him out.
The plot develops and unravels in an exciting way as James first has to go on the run after his boss is murdered, letting go of trusting everyone in his life. However, James would realise that running away from the problem will only make matters worse so with his last ounce of courage, he decides to face the situation face-on. Although the number of twists and quasi-endings are hard to keep track of, Wu chooses to focus on the protagonist and how each turn pushes him further into psychological damage. James will get his happy ending but it may be at the cost of everything else.
Visually speaking, the film bursts out of its own shell. The cinematography is crisp and the teal grey filter over everything makes the film look polished and hi-tech. The cinematographer has done a fantastic job ensuring that the action does not look bombastic for the sake of it and those tense, unnerving moments of interaction between characters look as energised and unpredictable as possible. The result is that the film feels more like a spy thriller than a man-on-the-run action flick and this is probably for the best. Not only does this help keep the film apart from dozens of similar films in the market, it also makes for an exciting and novel viewing.
Another aspect that is frequently overlooked by reviewers is the sound design. The sound mixing team has done a terrific job here, invoking a true sense of dread in all of the action scenes and ensuring a consistent theme of fear and confusion as seen by the protagonist throughout the story. The sound design of a spy thriller has a significant part in ensuring that the story feels true to its roots and the team here has done really well in this regard.
The acting by the main cast is good and everyone does a well enough job. Connor Keene settles well into his role as James Treage while Derek S. Orr as Detective Mills has an onscreen presence that is hard to ignore. From costumes to set design, the production looks highly polished in all its aspects. The props, the background shots, the vehicles and the finale in a hanger with private jets; the makers behind the project went all out to ensure that the final product was nothing to be scoffed at. With seemingly such a low budget, it is unimaginable how the production team managed to make the film look so incredibly real and hi-tech.
Full of twists, turns and a dark, foreboding sense of violence, The Devil’s Fortune does well given its subject matter. Political thrillers are always hard to pull off from a thematic and emotional standpoint but the film here manages to make the audience root for the protagonist as we go down the rabbit hole into the murky underworld of espionage, corruption and murder. Although it doesn’t break the genre mould, The Devil’s Fortune is good enough to stand on its own two feet.
Well shot and well acted, the film is a enthralling journey through the intersection of finance, espionage and good old fashion murder. One of director Rubidium Wu’s best and provides Wu with some serious cred on his resume for his next project. We hope to see much more in the future and pray that he gets his hands on a major Hollywood production a lot sooner than later.