Review: THE FALL OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE Is A Funny And Meaningful Satire

FIRST IMPRESSION

The Fall of the American Empire isn't a perfect film, but it is successful at accomplishing what it sets out to do: providing commentary in an entertaining way.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

The Fall of the American Empire is a new crime comedy from Canadian satirist Denys Arcand, and although it does feel like it came out a bit too late, it is still wildly entertaining and insightful. The film is about a man who arrives on the scene of a hold-up gone wrong, sending him into a dangerous web of deception.

The story arc of the movie is a somewhat common one, adhering to many of the tropes of the heist film. However, the unique and comedic spin that Arcand puts on the script makes it feel refreshing and enjoyable. Additionally, the “heist” itself is relatively creative, so it is enjoyable to watch how it plays out and see whether or not the characters are going to find success.

One of the most interesting things that Arcand does with the script is infuse it with ethical and philosophical questions, not only about whether or not the protagonist was justified in taking the money, but also about the ethics of being rich. Granted, Arcand does open up a huge can of worms with this, and there is no way to answer some of these questions he poses in a single movie, but they are thought-provoking nonetheless.

The humor of the film is largely of the absurdist type, largely relying on the inherent ridiculousness of the situation for the laughs. It is hilarious to watch the protagonist, an “average upstanding citizen”, try to figure out how to get away with his crime and the bumbling detectives fail to find a way to pin the crime on him. If you enjoy heist movies, you will likely enjoy the humor in this.

the fall of the american empire storage
Left to Right: Alexandre Landry as Pierre-Paul Daoust, Rémy Girard as Sylvain ‘The
Brain’ Bigras. Photo by Bertrand Calmeau, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Another reason that the movie is so effective is that the character development is mostly strong. The protagonist is extremely likable, and his arc over the course of the film is compelling, if not too complex. All of the supporting characters are likable too, even if they are somewhat archetypal, like the “prostitute with a heart of gold” or the “biker who has a soft spot on the inside”.

The actors do a very good job in their roles. Alexandre Landry plays the protagonist in a way that is hard not to love. His performance doesn’t require a great deal of range, but he does a very good job of delivering the movie’s comedic lines. Additionally, his chemistry with actress Maripier Morin is great. Morin is excellent on her own too, giving a performance that shows her to have the potential to break out.

It is on a technical level that the film is most disappointing, but it is still rather strong. For a movie that has such an ambitious script, you would hope that the execution would be equally ambitious. Instead, the film is mostly straightforward and even somewhat messy at times. For example, there are a few zooms that feel quite out-of-place and ineffective.

The Fall of the American Empire is an extremely entertaining satire with a lot to say about upper class society. Although the sarcastic and deadpan nature of the movie may not appeal to everyone, this film deserves much more attention than it is getting.

The Fall of the American Empire is now playing in select theaters.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

‘I Don’t Talk to Reporters’ Ep. 6 Official Clip | City On A Hill | SHOWTIME

Rachel (Sarah Shahi) is questioned by the Michaela (Samantha Soule) the reporter. Starring Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge and Jonathan Tucker. Catch new episodes of City On A Hill every Sunday at 9PM ET on SHOWTIME. #CityOnAHill Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get SHOWTIME merchandise now: http://sho.com/store_yt_showtime Get…

2019 Emmy® Nominations | SHOWTIME

18 Emmy® Nominations for SHOWTIME Networks including: Don Cheadle, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Who is America?, Outstanding Variety Series Escape at Dannemora, Outstanding Limited Series Patricia Arquette, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series Benicio del Toro, Lead Actor in a Limited Series Paul Dano, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series…

Power Season 6 | 2019 Essence Festival | STARZ

The cast of Power attended the 2019 Essence Festival. Power Season 6 premieres August 25 on STARZ. #Power #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Power: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Get your free trial of the STARZ app: http://starz.tv/WatchSTARZYT Like Power on Facebook: http://starz.tv/PowerFacebookYT Follow Power on Twitter: http://starz.tv/PowerTwitterYT Follow Power on Instagram: http://starz.tv/PowerInstagramYT Like STARZ…

Hitsville: The Making of Motown (2019) Official Trailer | SHOWTIME Documentary Film

The remarkable story of the legendary Motown Records is told through new and exclusive interviews with the label’s visionary founder, Berry Gordy, and many of its superstar artists and creative figures, as well as rare performances and behind-the-scenes footage unearthed from Motown’s vaults and Gordy’s personal archives. Featuring Jamie Foxx, John Legend and more. Premieres…

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: New 2019: Freshly Brewed | Eddie Murphy Clip | Netflix

Hop in for a ride with Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Seth Rogen, Melissa Villaseñor, Ricky Gervais, Jamie Foxx, and many more in a new season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Streaming July 19 on Netflix. Watch Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80171362 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading…

Alicia Vs. Walker Herd | Walker Kill of the Week | Fear the Walking Dead | Season 5 Episode 7

Alicia single-handedly battles a walker herd and receives a potentially deadly surprise. #FearTWD #FeartheWalkingDead For more Fear the Walking Dead videos: https://goo.gl/P1AXdM Subscribe to the AMC YouTube Channel : https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx Fear the Walking Dead: https://goo.gl/CMLr9K Sign Up for the Fear the Walking Dead Newsletter : http://www.amc.com/shows/fear-the-wal... Fear the Walking Dead on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/FearTWD/ Fear…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here