AMERICAN SON: DVD
Fresh from Camp Pendleton, 19 year old Marine, Mike Holland (Nick Cannon) faces a volatile home life in Bakersfield, a new romance with Mexican-American Cristina (Melanie Diaz) and the dangerous complexities of adulthood, all in the space of a 96 hour Thanksgiving before his posting to the battlefield in Iraq - something he can't divulge to anyone.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
American Son ... Anyone's Son. It's a powerful yet nuanced work eating away at the essence of what we're all about. If you zoom in from the global picture on your TV to the suburb, to the street, to the house, to the family and its members - anywhere in the world - you will find the intimate stories of humanity going about its daily life, some heading to work, some to hospital, some to prison, some to war. The intimacy of each life grows by the filmmaker's focus on it, and American Son grabs us from the start with its well structured screenplay.
We meet Mike (Nick Cannon) on his homecoming for a brief stay, a Marine proud of what he's learnt. His high school buddies, his family and his new friend Cristina (Melanie Diaz), embrace him in varying degrees of enthusiasm. But Mike has a short term horizon: he's headed for the war zone of Iraq, just 96 hours away. This is the ticking bomb only he and we know. It's a powerful fuse and imbues the film with a melancholy that creates great texture for the story. But the film isn't about war, or politics or rights and wrongs. It's about the human condition, through Mike's experience.
Cannon is terrific; he is at once serious but not heavy, romantic but not soppy, proud but not vain. Diaz is lovely; a complex, likeable character who (although attractive) doesn't rely on beauty to make her impact. And Matt O'Leary as his buddy Jake is dynamite. All the supports are great, and the intelligent, sensitive screenplay, well served by decent dialogue, gives everyone a chance to shine - even when the context is not shiny but sombre.
Technically the film is a finely crafted work, with some great cinematography, editing, production design and costumes. A really well conceived and well made, satisfying film, a heartbreaking tale of all the boys in all the world and all of time, going off to war. Any war.
Published May 14, 2009
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AMERICAN SON: DVD (M)
CAST: Nick Cannon, Melanie Diaz, Jay Hernandez, Chi McBride, Matt O'Leary, Tom Sizemore
PRODUCER: Danielle Renfrew, Michael Roiff
DIRECTOR: Neil Abramson
SCRIPT: Eric Schmid
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kris Kachikis
EDITOR: Karen Schmeer
MUSIC: Tom Boland, Sam Retzer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paula Good
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: All Interactive
DVD RELEASE: May 2, 2009
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.