Ken Finkleman (of CBC’s cult hit The Newsroom) wryly lampoons streamlined success in #AnAmericanDream.
#AnAmericanDream can be best described as satirical vignettes that feature a hapless chum, William Bowman (Jake Croker), as he falls from executive stardom only to be bounced around by exploitative practices, junky television and conspiracy theories, while also running into right-wing and left-wing extremists. In short: #AnAmericanDream is plain nuts.
As expected, Finkleman (who also wrote the screenplay) has plenty to say about the state of reality TV. A clever sequence has Bowman hitting a new low by engaging in sex on a trashy show. He’s immediately picked up by a competing show that shames him, pays him, and hooks him to another ideology – this turn of events happens within a few minutes. Later, Bowman is recruited for a live manhunt that gives one lucky fugitive a celebrity status.
#AnAmericanDream is a wake-up call for our lowered expectations. However, it would’ve been a more provocative and effective piece as a short film since Finkleman’s strongest material and Croker’s confident performance are only efficient enough to power this deliberately stilted film for a limited time. Once #AnAmericanDream runs out of things to say, the film grasps for shock value – leaving a bitter and disappointing aftertaste.
#AnAmericanDream screens at Toronto’s Canadian Film Festival on Tuesday, March 21 at 7:00 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.
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