It’s kind of interesting to think that Alex Pettyfer used to be a hot prospect when he was first coming up, especially since now it would appear that he’s been relegated to starring in B-list movies that aren’t that bad but are still far and away from the hits that he might like to find himself cast in. Whatever promise he had when he was first coming up isn’t gone entirely, but it’s taken a different direction as he’s starred in a few movies now that aren’t topping the charts but are at least keeping him employed. Collection is one of those that’s not horrible from the start but lacks a bit of the punch that some movies need to keep going in a positive direction. As a debt collector, a grieving father, and someone trying to find a reason to keep going, Pettyfer’s character is a guy that feels as though he’s on edge most of the movie or as if he’s trying to find a way out of his current life that’s not working.
Unfortunately, the premise is realistic or feels that way, at least.
Many people have had to deal with debt collectors, whether they’re real and have a legitimate gripe or are scam artists looking to make an easy score and move on to the next mark. The game in this movie appears to be one giant con to get people to pay on debts that might have been laid off or forgotten or actually to collect real debts. Whatever the case, the way that the crew in the movie goes about it feels extremely shady since it is, without any doubt. Impersonating one person or another from one agency or another, the debt collectors seek to get paid, and they don’t worry about whose finances they’re ruining. Of course, that would be the job description given to a debt collector by many of the people who have had to deal with them, but it wouldn’t be entirely accurate.
The lie, cheat, and steal system is in full effect with this group.
Brandon and Ross, the two head men of this group, are very good at what they do, and when Brandon recruits a young criminal that has been paroled, Ross is skeptical but goes along with it. When the prospect starts learning thanks to Ross, things become even more heated as Ross continues to wonder why Brandon is placing so much energy on the new guy and why they aren’t doing business the same way they’ve been doing as Brandon is seen to blow off work and doesn’t talk to Ross as much. This creates great tension between the two friends as the movie goes along, especially when Brandon starts seeing a woman that Ross and the protege are currently engaged in defrauding. Eventually, things get to a point where Ross and the protege are closing in on the woman that Brandon has come to love, and he has to choose between who he’s going to back and who he’s going to walk away from. One can easily guess what he was about to do.
The movie doesn’t do a great job of getting the viewer invested in the story.
Maybe it moves a little too slowly, or maybe it doesn’t develop the characters quite as well as it should, but Collection feels like a TV movie that somehow tried to make itself feel like a story that was a little more important than it had any right to be. The cast isn’t that well known, the premise is shaky, and the protagonist, despite being deeply flawed and having a tragic backstory, doesn’t come off as the type of guy one might want to root for by the end. The fact that this ends with Ross and Brandon dying should create an emotional impact, but there’s nothing there. Even when the protege dies in prison after being viciously stabbed to death off-screen, there’s no serious demand for emotional investment since the story falls relatively flat before its ending.
A different cast might have helped, along with a few tweaks to the overall story.
Sometimes it feels as though people release one movie after another just to ensure the audience doesn’t forget them or because they have nothing better to do. But despite my belief that every story needs to be told, there are times when a movie might need to find its way to TV and be seen as a network exclusive rather than a regular feature. Collection is one of those that stands out as a movie that could have benefited greatly from being a movie of the week.
It’s kind of easy to wonder if Alex Pettyfer will ever make a comeback.