If Ryan Murphy made a psycho-sexual thriller, it would look something like James Kapner’s cutting and hilarious The Estate. Billed as a “true fable,” this campy, outrageous, and decidedly not-PC film touches on all the taboos. It gives Cruel Intentions vibes, only less weighty and more ridiculous. Social and cultural commentary in relation to wealth and white privilege is quite on-the-nose, while being laugh-out-loud funny. Case in point: when first debating murder, one of our two lead characters remarks, “We’re white and rich. We can kill one guy.” If that does not set the standard for what type of movie is in store here, I am not sure what will.
Gay socialite George (Chris Baker) and his wickedly horny stepmother, Lux (Eliza Coupe), live an extravagant lifestyle on the coattails of George’s successful absentee billionaire father, Marcello (Eric Roberts). George’s deepest desire is to procure an invitation to a prestigious annual black and white ball. George and Lux stay together in one of Marcello’s properties, prowling for hookups and connection. When they cross paths with sexy stranger Joe (Greg Finley) at a hole-in-the-wall dive bar, George and Lux are instantly swept up in his charisma, as well as Joe’s offer to help assassinate Marcello and reap the benefits. Their murderous ways are called for again and again as the greed overtakes these “destitute” pretty rich people.
This is not the type of film with relatable characters or dramatic highs. At one point, George tells a poolboy “I love white trash.” If one can get behind the personalities of these self-indulgent characters from the beginning, one will have a great time. I found it very hard to believe that The Estate was James Kapner’s feature debut—nearly everything from top to bottom has a stylistic flair. Not only is the film a first for the director, but also for Chris Baker. The young auteur, who also penned the sharply satirical script, fills the murderous gay shoes of George and completely steals the show. It certainly helps that his chemistry with Lux—and sexual tension with Joe—is so sizzling hot. I had previously seen Eliza Coupe and Greg Finley in television shows (Future Man and iZombie, respectively), just never quite like this. The extravagance of a rich lifestyle allows for something of a playground for the young actors to have sex, snort drugs, and spend, spend, spend.
The Estate is sure to be a divisive film, merely riding on the script’s unabashed dark humor and purely evil characters. Personally, I loved every over-the-top and gorgeously-filmed second of it. The final act goes steadily off the rails in the best way possible. Half the time, I was rooting for George and Joe to embrace the lust of their bond. For anyone hoping for some LGBT content, rest assured, there is plenty! Come for the laughsl stay for the murderous glee.
The Estate goes “dumpster diving for dick” when it debuts in select theaters and VOD on Friday, October 22nd.