Anytown (American Bully)
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Anytown (American Bully)

I seriously doubt there’s any time in human history where teenagers were not moody and sullen. After all, this is the. In life when an individual has to transition from childhood being an adult. The implications of this may appear to be simple, especially when expressed in the form such as this. Most teenagers matured in an environment where they were somewhat protected by the adults in their lives; parents and teachers. Every aspect of what makes them an individual is ripped from them to me: the bodies that drastically changing, their emotions are all over the place riding on a wave of hormonal flux and accompanied by psychological changes that in the of the context would have a physician running to the DSM IV to categorize the obvious affliction. The universal nature of becoming a teenager has made it one of the most popular themes in entertainment. Even a cursory examination of just films reveals an incredibly wide spectrum ranging from such award-winning films as ‘Rebel without a Cause’, to any number of exploitation flicks that were to go to offerings grind houses and driving movies throughout the country the movie of the consideration here today for some rare the of the median mark, ‘Anytown’ otherwise known as ‘American Bully’. Many longtime of fiction others of movies have been conditioned to a degree C title change between theatrical home releases as a marketing ploy used to cover up a bad reputation of the movie. Fortunately, in this case nothing could fall from the truth. This movie is powerful, thought-provoking and captivating.

This film was directed by Dave Rodriguez who co-wrote the screenplay with Zak Meyers. This film under the name of ‘Anytown’ was originally released in the 2009 submitted to the independent film festival circuit. Once again it breaks with traditional wisdom that a movie that is not seen a major release some 16 years is cause for concern. This certainly does not apply to importance of the message of the quality of his presentation. The movie concerns itself with a topic that many would like to just ignore; the effect of 9/11 and the subsequent war on terrorism had on the generation growing up during that time. The marriage of the story unfolds primarily to the vantage point of Brandon O’Leary (Matt O’Leary), a teenager with the dubious distinction of being the alpha male and a pack of dome seven neighborhood kids. So often occurs during times of employment social stress the members of this group including his closest associates; Mike (Marshall Allman), Bo (Sam Murphy) and Kyle (Ross Britz) willingly submit to Brandon’s prejudice and predilection for hatred. The zeitgeist binding this group targets anyone of a different race, declaring them enemies of America in immediate danger to our way of life.

Under such conditions individualism is eroded away from the members of the group leaving them increasingly vulnerable to the strong will of the alpha among them. At that point all that is necessary is a single act by an outsider that can be perceived as a hostile move directed against them. This seed of discontent is soon found in the classroom rival of Brandon, Erich Singh (Jonathan Halyalkar). He unintentionally resulted Brandon becomes suspended from school. It is not as if Brandon or any of his crew considers school as a crucial site of education and learning but by being expelled is a humiliation of Brandon in front of those who are far beneath them. In order to maintain his position of leadership retribution must be taken. They come across the boy which adds a spark to their psychological tinderbox. Taunts and insults almost immediately give way to physical attacks. Using that escalation is not enough to satisfy the need expressing their hatred which is now been embodied in their fellow student. Erich is a quiet student from India and has nothing to do with the main origins of the hatred. Arab or Indian doesn’t matter he looks, speaks and acts differently than they do and obviously are intent on destroying this country. Erich is kidnapped by Brandon and his gang. When a Mexican labor inconveniently stumbles across them Brandon shoots him. It may at this point appear that the wall behind the story is how it is so easy for hatred to rapidly accelerate from rhetoric to irreversible deadly action but that would be to unfairly diminish as of yet still developing style and intensity of this filmmaker.

Mr. Rodriguez carefully provides a strong foundation for the hatred that resides within Brandon. Brandon has decided to join the military following in the footsteps of his older brother who is currently serving in Iraq. Although Brenda might actually believe that such service is an in selfish act motivated by the pride and love he has for his country but actually beneath the jingoistic façade is social acceptance to be heavily armed and sent to the homeland of the people a permission to annihilate them. A similar course in effect can be seen throughout history. While the vast majority of young men joined the US military after Pearl Harbor did so to serve and protect their country and the people back home. Undoubtedly there was a few who are motivated by factors closer to Brandon. Similar tactics were employed by the KKK, some for the militias and other hate groups throughout time. Our species seems to be prewired to divide the world into ‘us ‘and ‘them’. When Brandon comes across a video on the Internet that depicts an Al Qaeda execution of an American, whatever safeguards had previously been able to contain his seething hatred were no longer effective. This resulted in a meeting with the school principal Mr. Wheeler (Paul Ben-Victor) Tom solidifying Brandon’s intent to join the Marines. The principal gives Brandon a one day suspension for distributing such a violent video to other members of the student body. All that they are from school does for Brandon is to free up more time solidified his hatred into action.

The movie has a documentary feel to it as it follows Brandon and a cinema vérité style. Of course this brings a greater degree of realism removing the audience from considering what they are watching is truly a movie and enhancing a sense of realism to it. This effectively tells the subject matter home. Nothing new is presented here; you’ve heard stories of this on the news at nauseam. It was achieved here is to put a face to the action. Not just a stock photograph of the teenager was lashed out unthinkable rates of violence. Many might be quick to point out several laws of a technical nature in this movie. While I acknowledge that many of these observations hold more than a grain of truth I must contend that they’re not derogatory the overall effect of the film, the greatly enhances. Brandon is it damage young man, who has grown up watching images of the Towers falling, troops assembled in the desert news reports of IED’s killing our soldiers and innocent civilians. It is only natural for any mind to need to associate such heinous actions with something or someone that can serve as a tangible target for their hatred. This film is entertaining but not in the conventional sense, rather serves as a means to understand what is causing the generation like Brandon to exist. It is important to note that the film never makes excuses for the enormous scapegoat such as the execution films, it doesn’t try to exonerate Brandon and his friends have the lash out in ignorance and anger. The causality between these types of events are frequently imposed by the public in a desperate need to understand increasing violence we are all countering on a daily basis.

Posted 07/03/2015

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