'The Power of Few' is engaging trip through 5 stories

Photo provided by Steelyard PicturesChristopher Walken, third from left, plays Doke, and Jordan Prentice, standing next to Walken, plays Brown in the film The Power of Few.
Photo provided by Steelyard PicturesChristopher Walken, third from left, plays Doke, and Jordan Prentice, standing next to Walken, plays Brown in the film The Power of Few.

Reviewer's Rating: ★★1/2

A film that makes good, unglamorized use of its gritty New Orleans locations, The Power of Few introduces five stories containing five parallel sets of characters.

Few, a girl seemingly minding her own business as she walks down a city street, serves as the launching pad for it all. As each story unfolds, often accompanied by Quentin Tarantino-style dialogue and violence, writer-director Leone Marucci always returns to Few, played by New Orleans actress Tione Johnson.

Tarantino’s influential shadow is overly powerful in The Power of Few, but Marucci demonstrates a flair for his material. He’s also working with a higher plan in mind.

The movie features characters of the kind that don’t often occupy movie theater screens. A rambling, long-haired Christopher Walken provides gently comic relief as Doke. A verbose homeless man who harbors conspiracy theories, Doke and his equally homeless dwarf companion spend most of the movie searching for food.

Other familiar faces in the cast of this indie production include Anthony Anderson as an aptly commanding thug on the hunt for a young man who’s been tapped to testify against one of Anderson’s home boys.

Christian Slater shows up as some kind of undercover agent, on the trail of a mysterious package that could be explosively dangerous. It’s good to see Slater and his edgy energy on screen again, but his character’s irritatingly gung-ho fellow agent, played by Australian actress Nicky Whelan, gives the movie’s worst performance.

Q’Orianka Kilcher, who starred as Pocahontas to Colin Farrell’s Capt. John Smith in 2005’s The New World, plays principal character Alexa, the motor-scooting young woman who’s been hired to deliver the story’s mysterious package. Kilcher buzzes around New Orleans, sometimes accompanied by Jesse Bradford’s character, Dom, the guy the thugs want to find.

Devon Gearhart, a young actor with many film and TV credits, delivers the movie’s most earnest performance as Cory, a teen who’s contemplating the execution of a desperate act.

Some of the script’s stories work better than others. The movie’s seemingly endless circling back to square one, too, grows annoying. But Marucci works hard to set the pieces of his elaborate puzzle in place. The writer-director demonstrates engaging attention to detail and a knack for storytelling. His tightly scripted hours in New Orleans wield their way to a destination that’s worth the time spent getting there.