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Parents' Guide to

American Night

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Frustrating, overlong mafia thriller has sex, violence.

Movie R 2021 120 minutes
American Night Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

As Hazy, Bleak, and Cold as a Blizzard

How many more copycat movies can be thrust at us based on other copycat moviemakers works - before everyone runs screaming from the room – or are perhaps the money providers as unintelligent as the movie makers? The writer/director’s name (Alessio Della Valle) of this stinker may now need to be added to those 'must-avoid' lists. Is this the product that can now be expected to clog up our screens, made by those who grew up watching over-baked Sergio Leone, Tarantino, etc, movies? If so, heaven help society. With apologies to some, here is a story as superficial as the ‘art’ it’s inspired by. Warhol and Pollack were ‘artists’ selected by the ‘Promote American Art’ Economic Contingent of the CIA, with the sole intention of pushing American art into the Super-High price range of its European counterparts. And, as Big money most assuredly corrupts both art critics and sellers, these ‘deals’ served the purpose by spreading the myth...that’s become today’s blind ‘reality’ (you can fool or buy most of the people most of the time). This foul, bullet and blood-laden swear fest, drags its way through its own slime to its seemingly interminable conclusion (even at half its 2Hr length this mess would seem overlong) Perhaps some bikie gang members may last the distance, but viewers seeking substance will need to protect their heads by making a U-Turn, before letting this lowly, pseudo-intellect sewage into their lives. Watch the box office returns take a nose dive - It's all grotty style and no substance.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Clocking at a too-long 123 minutes, American Night is a pretty tiring movie-watching experience. It tries to reinvent the mafia film by injecting a fine-art angle, but it feels forced. Michael Rubino (Hirsch), the heir apparent of his mafia family, wants to become a fine artist; art forger John Kaplan (Meyers) wants to open an art gallery and repair his relationship with art historian Sarah (Vega); and his brother, Vincent (Piven), a failed film stuntman, must find his path to enlightenment. While a film about a mafioso who wants to live out his artistic dreams could be unique and interesting, the story here is a mish-mash of ideas and aesthetics that seem like something that a stereotypical art school freshman would find cool. An overabundance of name-dropping -- Warhol, Bruce Lee, Italian futurism, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, etc. -- bloats the film. And there's a butchering of Lee's "Be like water" interview clip (which is already overused to the point of cliche) and other infusions of "Asian philosophy" through a tired, Western lens.

The film also traffics in racial and cultural stereotypes; of course there's a Catholic funeral for an Italian mob boss that ends in bloodshed. Of course the women of the family are in widow's weeds, looking solemn. Of course there's an Asian woman literally named "Asia" who's also in a lesbian relationship seemingly just for the male gaze. And of course she's also somehow affiliated with a triad gang in China. To top it off, the film's story doesn't make much sense. Hirsch, Meyers, Vega, and Piven all do fine jobs with what they're given and turn out surprisingly emotional performances that elevate the source material. But despite the film's self-importance and obsession with privileged ideas, viewers won't come away knowing why Michael can't just leave his family to become the artist he always wanted to be, why John's relationship failed, or why Vincent's stunt career was going down the drain. We don't learn about many important elements of the story. Instead, we just learn that the film's writer knows a lot about the topics he's interested in. Exploring your interests in film is cool, but there also has to be a cogent story to go along with it.

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