Americana Review: Tony Tost Upends the Western Genre in Directorial Debut Drama Starring Sydney Sweeney and Halsey – SXSW

Sacred to certain indigenous communities, ghost shirts were believed to protect the wearer from bullets through spiritual powers. This precious heirloom tony toastDirectorial debut at SXSW, AmericanaThis western drama has some tricks up its sleeve thanks to a brilliant script and scripted comedic timing. A gorgeous cast including Sydney Sweeney, Halsey, Paul Walter HauserZahn McClarnon, Simon Rex, Eric Dane, Gavin Maddox Bergman.

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Cal (Bergman) loves watching black and white cowboy and Indian movies. Joan Jett look-alike Mandy (Halsey) and local thug Dillian (Dane) debate why her brother, Cal, is so weird while he’s obsessed with what he sees on TV. Maybe it’s because he’s a white kid who claims to be the reincarnation of his Lakota ancestor, Sitting Bull. Grab the key to the squirrel and escape, but her brother wants to stay because “his people need him.” She has no choice but to leave, claiming she will return to him when she is financially stable. and finds Cal armed with a bow and arrow. When the arrows start flying, he thinks this kid is joking, but he soon learns that this Native American boy is pretending not to be playing games.

Left-handed Ledbetter (Hauser) gives a proposal speech to Penny-Joe Poplin (Sweeney), a waitress at a local diner. He plans to pop the question to his girlfriend within the next two weeks. A young woman tries to give advice but struggles because of her stutter. From behind the counter, she noticed a young man on the phone writing something on a napkin, and she left the restaurant. Penny rushes there and reads what it says is “friday dinner at 4pm”. After meeting Lefty at a bar the same night, she convinces him to come to her work on this meeting day and eavesdrop on what all the fuss is about. They uncover a heist plot between Dillon, Juan Dave (Joe Adler) and Roy Lee Dean (Rex) to steal a ghost shirt and sell it on the black market. With this new information, the duo hatch a plan to get the shirt and save the money for themselves. But when Ghost Eye (McClarnon) and the Indigenous community get involved, it doesn’t go so smoothly. Trust me, this is all connected.

Americana I was told it was out of order, but I didn’t realize it until the second act. Tost skillfully weaves this aspect into the story, keeping the tone from feeling disjointed. There are many moving parts here. Mandy wants money for his family, Penny and Lefty want money for themselves, Roy wants to keep the shirt as a collector’s item, Ghosteye wants it back to the people. It not only deconstructs, but it paints an intricate picture full of twists and intrigues that perfectly combines action, comedy and story.

cowboys are not heroes Americana; In fact, their society is stigmatized by indigenous peoples and those overlooked by the world. There’s also commentary on cultural appropriation, addressed by certain character actions and dialogue, proving that Tost knew where to draw the line in the script to avoid offending gags and laughter. He didn’t have to do it, but he found a clever way of doing it. I was also worried that the film, like most Western films, was guilty of being a “white savior”, but the script pulled the characters out of it and forced them to be themselves. It lets you see yourself and your actions. That’s what it means to build a good characterization.

Tost’s director manages to avoid the common pitfalls novice directors encounter by overcomplicating things, but the director manages to keep it simple by making the character work within the frame. keep. The focus is on people, so all dialogue and emotions are clearly conveyed to the audience. This movie wouldn’t be without a rich, fun cast, or individuals who are determined, intelligent, loud, and have different ideas about success and how to achieve it, with Halsey and McClarnon standing out. . It is a snapshot of the microcosm of . Americana life.

title: Americana
festival: SXSWNarrative Spotlight
directed by-screenwriter: Tony Toast
cast: Sidney Sweeney, Paul Walter Hauser, Halsey, Eric Dane, Zahn McClarnon, Gavin Maddox Bergman, Simon Rex, Derek Hinkie, Toby Huss, Harriet Sansom Harris
Execution time: 1 hour 50 minutes

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