The American Night stars Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and is a fun parody of classic thrillers

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American Night (16s) stars Cork actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as John Kaplan, art critic and gallerist hailed by Time magazine as “the rock star of the art world”. Unfortunately for John, his “art + life = chaos” mantra comes back to haunt him when mobster Michael Rubino (Emile Hirsch) sets out to recover Warhol’s “Pink Marilyn”, the painting that inspired Michael to become an artist and his father’s death. sold in order to force Michael to focus on his Mafia-related activities.

What follows is a deliberately kitschy take on the classic thriller, and one that could very easily emerge would be Quentin Tarantino attempting a two-hour noir according to Edward Hopper’s aesthetic.

Sets are hyper-real and often lit with eerie neon lights; the bad guys (there are no good guys) are over-the-top grotesques who employ rare scorpions for the purpose of extracting information; there’s a ridiculous sex scene with way too many cans of paint; and writer-director Alessio Della Vale’s dialogue is so cheesy it can only be deliberate.

As a parody, it’s great fun, especially since Della Vale constructs an intriguing narrative structure in which events loop back and forth to explore crucial scenes from different angles.

(streaming version)

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