American Made Movie: Film Review
Nathaniel Thomas McGill
Ryan C. Wilson
Nathaniel Thomas McGill and Vincent Vittorio's documentary provides a hopeful portrait of some American companies defying the trend of international competition.
Economic themed documentaries naturally tend to be of the doom and gloom variety these days, but American Made Movie at least offers some hopeful aspects to its depressing portrait of the decline of U.S. manufacturing. While Nathaniel Thomas McGill and Vincent Vittorio’s film doesn’t cut too deep, its examination of some domestic companies bucking the trend at least doesn’t send you out of the theater feeling hopelessly depressed.
Naturally, the film presents an array of daunting statistics regarding such things as the dramatic loss of manufacturing jobs in recent decades; the growing disparity in incomes; the huge number of shuttered factories; the virtual domination of big box retailers; and the current sad state of our trade balance. An array of talking heads, including one figure identified as a “retail anthropologist”--now there’s a profession you probably never thought of pursuing)--provide vivid testimony to the dismal state of our economic affairs. Excerpts of gung-ho speeches by presidents ranging from Reagan to Obama ironically demonstrate that little has changed over the last several decades.
More cinematically, the film begins with an imaginative segment about our national pastime, baseball, in which we’re made vividly aware that the uniforms and equipment used by the players are almost entirely manufactured by foreign companies. The sole exception is the venerable Louisville Slugger bat, still produced in Kentucky.
The film’s chief focus is on several businesses large and small that for various reasons, not the least of which is patriotism, have managed to succeed in producing their wares in America. These include New Balance, identified as the last major athletic shoe manufacturer in the United States; a welding and fabricating company that was nearly done in by Chinese competition, a jewelry maker who found herself temporarily displaced by the Smithsonian Institution gift shop, and so on.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is that current poster child for the decline of American manufacturing, the city of Detroit, whose ravaged state is not surprisingly a key thematic element.
Still, for all its thoughtful analysis, the film is more anecdotal than truly enlightening. While its cheerleading approach to the problem is admirable, it seems more designed to appeal to the heart than the head.
Opens Aug. 30 (Variance Films)
Production: Life is My Movie Entertainment
Directors/producers: Nathaniel Thomas McGill, Vincent Vittorio
Screenwriter: Ryan C. Wilson
Director of photography: Alexander Falk
Editor: Aaron Keuter
Composers: Krister Jonsson, Paul Kelly, Carmen Yates
Rated G, 84 min.
- Exclusive Portraits of Robert Griffin III, Ronda Rousey, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Photos)
- MOBA: Inside the Biggest Sporting Event You've Never Heard Of (Photos)
- 'Girls,' Tatiana Maslany and 18 More of the Biggest Emmy Snubs (Photos)
- Emmy Awards 2014: The Nominees (Photos)
- Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014 (Photos)
- We Spent Half An Hour Talking To Allison Janney About 'Drop Dead Gorgeous'
- Here's How 'Modern Family' Star Eric Stonestreet Really Feels About That Emmy Snub
- 'American Horror Story' Leaked Call Sheet Signals Possible Return Of A Past Character
- New Visions on Romance: Hour of the Wolf Movie Review of I Origins & Mood Indigo
- Not Only is Zoe Saldana Pregnant, But She's Reportedly Expecting Twins!
- Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, and Daughters Sunday & Faith Join Reba McEntire's 'Pray for Peace' Campaign (Video)
- Shia LaBeouf Arrives for Court, Is Working Out a Plea Deal for His Recent Arrest Charges
- Kelsey Grammer & Wife Kayte Welcome Newborn Son Gabriel!