Three cheers to writer-director-co-star (Ryan Lonegran—mouthy to a delightful fault as Patrick), for cobbling together an “American Allegory” that is as much about polygamy (three men desperately in search of each other) as it is about the sad state of affairs in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Appropriately shot in glorious black and white (artfully captured by cinematographer Andrew Huebscher and tightly edited by Lonegran), the film’s “chapters” span key moments in US history: 1776-2017.
In sum, it’s a continental road story that purposely lays bare America’s challenges, warts and hopes as the three lovers opt to move from NYC to Santa Monica in hopes of saving one of their number (Jack Ball as Frankie is a camera delight naked or clothed), who is stricken with a mysterious illness (so apropos, as COVID-19 wreaks havoc around the globe), even as bearded Sutton (a credible outing from Garrett McKechnie) deals with drug dependencies, family trust income and an indicted relative (Zuhairah McGill has just the right as Edith: “let’s do the [real estate] deal at any cost”).
The road portion of the film opts to include many US monuments to reinforce the theme from the Washington Memorial/Jefferson Monument through Nicodemus Walking Tour, Ronald Regan Library, the windmills near Palm Springs, Hollywood, Beverley Hills and, finally, the Pacific Ocean.
Once there, it is a poker game (following a specially made meal of real US hamburgers) that separates the men, and lesbians from their cash, parking spots and condos‑in the same building, Russians, Iraqis and Iranians are soon at loggerheads with the Americans: All fiction, right?
What few sex scenes there are add more relief to the turmoil around the narrative than provides any “heat”. Having recently reviewed a threesome that most certainly needs room for improvement (cross-reference below), Lonegran’s film is certainly worth a look for those in any country who might continue to wonder just why we all can’t get along, whether in bed or not.
The most welcome curiosity is the decision to use the music of Sibelius to underscore the events, action and couplings. Was his Finlandia more stable than present-day USA?
And perhaps the disease Frankie was facing, is the US itself. JWR