We've been waiting for more than a year for audiences to get the chance to see the made-on-the-SouthCoast movie Finestkind.

The Brian Helgeland-directed movie about two fishermen brothers who get caught up in a dangerous drug ring was filmed in and around New Bedford, Helgeland's hometown, for much of the spring of 2022. Since the movie was shot, the career of Jenna Ortega has skyrocketed, not to mention that the film has star power in Tommy Lee Jones, among others.

This has got to mean great things for the film, right?

Not necessarily.

Even though it got in on the ground floor of the Ortega business, and probably couldn't afford the Beetlejuice/Wednesday lead actress to appear in the movie now, the film is being panned by some of the most respected critics in the world.

It made its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend.

Let's start with Brian Tallerico of legendary and late critic Roger Ebert's website. Tallerico was less than impressed with both the writing and the acting in the film. He had this less-than-flattering comment about the script:

The concept of placing two brothers of very different social and class strata in the same predicaments to see how they respond differently is a smart one. And yet the script for Finestkind never leans into it.

If those words sting, his take on Ortega will leave a mark. To put it plainly, Tallerico gushes over Jones and Ben Foster, but just isn't buying Ortega in New Bedford.

"Bluntly, Foster and Jones look like they existed in this world before the cameras went on— [Toby] Wallace and Ortega look like they’re playing dress-up."


The review from Kevin Lee at FilmInquiry.com wasn't much better. Lee didn't hold back, calling Finestkind "a well-intentioned, but sadly shallow thriller" with "dynamics that were never realized."

Looking for a positive?

Rotten Tomatoes TV via YouTube
Rotten Tomatoes TV via YouTube

Lee gives the cast an "A" for effort, saying "everyone tries their damnedest. It’s such a soul-crushing disappointment when you compare the outline of story events in Finestkind with how they are executed on screen because you can see everyone trying their absolute best to make the material work."

Lee says the film is full of "laughable dialogue and implausible plotting" but also has compelling ideas.

While Finestkind is likely to gain eyeballs among SouthCoast residents who want to point at the Paramount+ screen and yell, "I know that place," it seems that the movie could well be limited to being a local hit. If you've ever seen Passionada you know exactly what I mean. (Gen Z runs and Googles Passionada.)

Finestkind is coming this fall to Paramount+.

Check out this scene filmed inside the Fairhaven dive bar Rasputin's.

Warning:  This scene is definitely NSFW.

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