Sunday, April 3, 2016

America is Still the Place

San Francisco, 1971. When two oil tankers collide at the epicenter of America's counterculture revolution, far more than two ships will clash. Leading the fight against environmental pollution and Big Oil power is an underdog hero, a black man with ambition who isn't going to let a little racism, or even a lot of it, stop him from building an empire. In a world where nothing is fair, everything is fair game.

Director Patrick Gilles, who earned his high school diploma at New Hope-Solebury High School, is refreshingly candid and insightful in this timely production. And the casting is superb. Lead actor Mike Colter delivers a powerful performance, playing the business savvy and aggression of waste king Charlie Walker with piercing yet melancholy eyes, while supporting actor Dylan Baker, the oil CEO, maintains just enough nervous edginess to make you question who is really playing whom. They square off well: amidst the manifest power imbalance and conflict, they are strangely, even addictively, interdependent.

America is Still the Place is a charged treatment of a politically sensitive topic, but it doesn't shrink from opportunities for humor, allowing just the measure of distance one needs for observation and reflection. You can watch the trailer here: America is Still the Place Trailer