My America follows the life of Maynard Brayboy (Bellamy), a struggling, yet angry, “Afro-European” teacher who was recently fired from his job at a predominantly white public school on the one-year anniversary of his wife’s death from a violent hate crime. With no job or family to truly comfort his angst, Maynard sits at home, drinking beer, while observing a Tea Party rally on television, that features various citizens sprouting off various racist and anti-social remarks toward the government, and black people, including the remarks of an ignorant red-neck named EJ Winston (Webber), a gun-toting, racist family man who has the things that Maynard doesn’t have presently – a wife, a child, and a job.
As Maynard goes searching for a new job, he comes across EJ who apparently calls Maynard a racist remark; thus setting Maynard down a sociopathic path that sees him assaulting EJ, then kidnapping him, grabbing his gun, and placing him under lock and key, inside the basement of his own home, tied up and no where to go.
With a lesson plan, a gun, and a tied up EJ in tow, Maynard brings him into a secluded section of the backwoods where he grew up at, where the two both share in heated, sometimes physical discussions on topics ranging from the current American government, to the Constitution, and Pop Culture in relations to their racial upbringings. The film takes on a much darker tone as Maynard plans to take EJ’s life, setting the stage for an ending that will shock you, and leave you speechless in the end.
My America is a film that compels you to feel the dormant issues that plague American society come alive within the first five minutes of this feature. Emotions of anger, racism, political unrest, and ignorance are easily played out throughout this film, along with cinematic visuals that are both disturbing, and at times uncomfortable to watch, but serve a purpose of exhibiting what true hatred does, when manifested physically, instead of mentally. This film greatly takes into account the various issues surrounding our country today, whether its issues of Healthcare, The Tea Party, The Obama Administration, the Economy, as well as even the Wu-Tang Clan.
Nothing was off-limits as My America intended to wrap over 200 years of American History between two people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, in a confrontation that some ‘wish’ would happen, but would not be done so. This film is not for the weak at heart. But this film is for those who can overlook a straightforward production style, and appreciate the ability to focus on a subject matter that very few people would approach, and approach successfully at that. If My America is the truth, then honestly, the truth (or My America) should set you free. A must see.
Film: "My America"
Director: Rod Webber
Film's website: www.rodwebber.com
Screening at Reel Fest, March 11th to 15th, 2011 www.reelfest.org
Review written by Crosby Tatum
Published by Reel Zine
© Reel Zine 2011