Starring: Andy Martinez, Jr., Eva Tamargo and Michael Lerner
Directed by: Justin Chambers
Running time: 1 hr 49 mins
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I was recently given an advance look at filmmaker Justin Chamber’s latest film, “American Bred,” which is premiering this Saturday at the D.C. Independent Film Festival. I greatly enjoyed Chamber’s first feature, 2012’s “Broken Roads,” and am pleased to report that his latest film is an outstanding sophomore achievement. In the city of Detroit, if you need something, you speak to Francis Adamo (Lerner). Together with his wife, Catalina (Tamargo), he has made a life that many envy. The Adamo’s love America. And may God have mercy on those that would try to disparage that love.
A smartly made film that compares in style with “The Departed,” “American Bred” is a classic mob movie with a modern twist. The film is a study in trust – as in who you can and can’t. Loyalty and deception are the calling cards here when an order is given but not carried out and the question “who can you trust” overshadows everything.
The film is smartly written with complex but identifiable characters and smart, believable dialogue. In fact, Chambers screenplay won 1st Place in 2014 in The Writers Place Screenplay Competition. Besides a strong script, Chambers has cast some amazing actors, including Ms. Tamargo and Mr. Lerner. I’ve been a fan of Michael Lerner’s ever since he played Jack Ruby in a television film almost 40 years ago. In films like “Eight Men Out,” “Harlem Nights” and “Barton Fink,” for which he earned an Academy Award nomination, his presence on screen is always powerful. The film works technically as well. The direction is tight and the story moves smoothly, powered by an outstanding musical score by Ian Hughes.