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Review: #AnAmericanDream

June 2, 2017

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

When we first meet our protagonist William Bowman (Jake Croker) in #AnAmericanDream, he is a high school football star living in farmland America, who gets overwhelmed whenever his parents try to talk about his future.  Then he suffers a concussion on the football field, and suddenly the narrative shifts ahead to him getting a cushy financial job in New York, which is where things start to go haywire.

From here, #AnAmericanDream takes us down a rabbit hole that veers between religious and sociopolitical satire, conspiracy thriller and chase movie, exploring the increasing absurdities of 21st century America.  I don’t want to reveal any more of the plot, both to avoid spoilers and because it would be hard to put some of what happens into words.

Written and directed by Ken Finkleman, who is perhaps best known for directing Airplane II: The Sequel over thirty years ago, #AnAmericanDream is an ambitious high concept satire.  Over an often deliriously paced 90 minutes, the film skewers everything from corrupt politicians and religious zealots, to exploitive reality shows, gun culture, predictive reporting of attacks, and the terrifying implications of living in a surveillance state, as the story moves briskly from one whacked out situation to another.

Jake Croker carries this all with a fine performance, doing an amusing job of portraying his character’s mix of cocky confidence and bewildered confusion.  Although not every element works equally well, this is a twisted and entertaining ride that is often manically unpredictable to watch, before pulling off one shocker of a final scene.  It’s going to be an acquired taste, but I enjoyed the ballsy absurdity of it all.

#AnAmericanDream is playing in limited release this weekend at the Royal Cinema in Toronto, tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

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