American Refugee Synopsis: With the U.S. economy collapsing and the nation under martial law, a family seeks refuge in their neighbor’s piles, where the danger inside is potentially greater than the danger outside.
The premise of the plot is really interesting. The gender roles of Americans are quite defined, and most men take on the role of head of household. American Refugee introduces a story where these roles are challenged in the midst of a global crisis. I like a good end to world history, and this is coming in the form of a collapse of the world’s financial institutions. The rate at which we are seeing the collapse of society is sober and highlights a few inherent household concerns. I love the way American Refugee introduces these concepts and how they collide in a horrible situation for the Taylor family.
The casting is really good. Derek Luke and Erika Alexander are cast as lead roles. Sam Trammell is a stage thief, especially with the chemistry he has with Erika Alexander. The behavior of Sam’s character, Winter, is easy to identify and relate to. He has obviously lived a life where he has had some trauma and his trauma leads to his irrational behavior. There are a few scenes with Sam that convey the great depth of his delusion, but the shower scene is definitely my favorite. We see a big shift in Sam’s performance in the shower scene, and the interaction between Sam and Erika definitely knocks it out of the park here.
The bad one
The pace is a big issue. Things go extremely fast in the beginning, with American Refugee quickly introducing Greg, Helen, and the family. American Refugee chooses to introduce both the collapse of the economy and the collapse of Taylor’s marriage at the same time. This is very difficult to follow because the collapse of the economy is very obvious while the decline in marriage is subtle. There is evidence for the problems with the clever comments back and forth, but no explanation as to why.
There is also a very sharp drop in the societal rules, which are explained in the background news report on television. there are a few moments that reflect the world’s new lawlessness, but there is nothing that reinforces how society became that way so quickly, or explains the complete absence of local officials. It’s like the purge, but there was no explanation for the police.
The pacing also has a negative impact on Act 2. American Refugee drags as we enter the bunker with Winter. The film does a good job of developing Helen’s growth, but no one else. The lack of development for the other characters takes away from worrying about their problems.
This movie had some great acting and some clever puns, but that’s not enough. The ending took me completely out.
- Actor – 7/10
- Cinematography / visual effects – 6/10
- Plot / script – 4/10
- Setting / Theme – 4/10
- Attraction – 6/10
- Reciprocity – 4/10