One of the very best narrative movies of SxSW and of 2023 is Tony Tost’s new movie AMERICANA which had its premiere on Friday at a nearly sold out screening at the Paramount Theatre with the filmmakers and a portion of the cast in attendance.
ABOUT: A heist of the mythical Lakota Ghost Shirt goes horribly wrong. Unlikely heroes and villains must navigate a new playing field in pursuit of this legendary Native American artifact renown for bringing its owner power, fortune, or freedom. An elevated, darkly comedic crime thriller told through intersecting storylines that precipitate a showdown of epic proportions.
JASON’S REACTION: It is rare when I get to compare an American Indie to one of the all time greats, the 1991 Carl Frankin picture ONE FALSE MOVE starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton, but here we go. There are so many interconnecting characters around a priceless piece of Native wear that becomes stolen through a heist but channeling through a lot of connected people that is almost Altmanesque in its structure. Every moment is funny, weird and wholly original, even when I am referencing Carl Franklin. Heck, let’s throw in a bit of John Dahl and Quentin Tarantino while we are at it with a dash of Coen Brothers. Take it as a compliment.
In fact, throughout I noticed that the character driven base of the storyline is an absolute triumph. Everyone here has their own voice and character, right down to Paul Walter Hauser and Sydney Sweeney in one of the year’s sweetest love stories. Mention must also go to musician Halsey for one of the best performances of the festival as a mother caught up in all the chaos, and boy does she kick some ass in this one. Filmmaker Tony Tost clearly took his time and precision to tell a true American story and this is the announcement of a major new talent. The movie is perfectly photographed, edited with absolute clarity and definition and even its obvious nods to all of the above creative influences this is a flat out original with its smart and memorable dialogue and also such a wide-screen visual triumph with bold cinematography by Nigel Bluck, chapter stops on a black background and notable humour intercut with furious bursts of violence. AMERICANA absolutely knocked my socks off at the SxSW premiere and no doubt it will get itself out there; BRON is one of the production companies and I can’t see it being very long until it finds a major distributor. One of the very best if not THE best movie of SxSW 2023.
This film and many others like it will be showing at South By Southwest taking place March 10-19. For more information point your browser to www.sxsw.com!