By Jim Shimomaye ( PhotoJournalist- Media One)
American Violence is an American movie directed by Brent Conley and stars Nelson Bonilla, Katherine Castro, Johnjay Fitih, Adi Spektor, Alina Gorun, Tony Guerrero, and Marek Matousek. The film was completed in 2013 and now available for streaming and digital download at Amazon Video, Google Play, VOD and Red Box. The film is distributed by Momentum Pictures.
American Violence is well directed, action-packed, psychological romantic thriller centering around 4 story lines. One, two feuding gangs, the Russian mafia and the Mexican Cartel trying to control the local drug trade. Two, a woman’s dream to have a better life. Three, a love story. And four, the psyche of a serial killer. The film’s story lines are well balanced and all tie in well together seamlessly during the final frames. The film is beautifully acted by a strong cast and the cinematography was excellent. The final color grading, very dark muddy colors, a perfect look for the film. A warning to those that don’t like reading subtitles, about 1/3 of the film’s dialogue is in Spanish and Russian, so be prepared to read. This of course adds to the realism and to those viewers that won’t need to read the subtitles, you will appreciate that since nothing is lost in translation. The soundtrack was excellent as well especially during the action scenes and gun battles, you really felt part of the action. The excellent sound reproduction at Harmony Gold Preview House, probably had some part in that as well, a beautiful film screening venue on the Sunset Strip.
The film partly plays out as a modern day “West Side Story” but sans the singing and dancing, albeit, with plenty of bloodshed. The two lovers portrayed in the film, Svetlana and North, find themselves caught in the middle between the two gangs and really must leave town to be safe. But just as in “West Side Story”, nothing is that easy. Nor is it easy for the woman trying to make a better life for herself. Not until the film’s climatic final scenes do we understand the serial killers motives and inspiration. A very well crafted thriller, American Violence.