Firstly, The thievery of a valuable Native American artifact sets off a threatening crime cascade in Americana, a revisionist Western set in present-day South Dakota. Writer-director Tony Tost brings his years of experience on similar episodic series like Damnation and Longmire to his directorial debut, an ensemble feature with several overlapping storylines. At the heart of the Americana plot is the Lakota nation’s “ghost shirt,” a garment made of animal skin, believed to possess special powers for followers of the Ghost Dance, a 19th-century Native American religious movement.
Despite the Western style and thematics,
Secondly, the borderline comic tone of Toast’s screenplay, combined with its frequent gratuitous violence, snappy dialogue, and non-linear narrative structure, suggest that Americana is a hybrid crime drama in Tarantino’s mold. The film’s appeal to genre fans should also be enhanced by the dramatic appearance of multi-platinum singer-songwriter Halsey.
A stunning performance that effortlessly casts her alongside bigwigs Sidney Sweeney and Paul Walter Hauser. Halsey plays Mandy Starr, who shares a minor double pitch with boyfriend Dillon (Eric Dane), an incompetent young hood, and young son Cal (Gavin Maddox Bergman). Mandy doesn’t even want to get out of bed most mornings, let alone take care of Cal, a free-spirited kid who insists he’s the embodiment of Sitting Bull. When unscrupulous antique dealer Roy Lee Dean (Simon Ricks) hires Dillon to steal a prized Lakota Ghost shirt from a private collector in a bloody home invasion, Mandy decides the best solution to her issues is to cut him out of the deal. The shirt is being resold. Self. The hammer swings in the back of the head, knocking Dillon out cold, causing him to steal the shirt and flee in his muscle car, leaving Cal alone.. behind when he refuses to go with him.
However, she’s not the only one planning to cash in on Native American artifacts:
local barmaid Benny Jo (Sweeney) overhears Roy Lee making a deal to sell ghost shirts for half a million dollars at the restaurant where she works. It states that it can finance. Her dreams of country stardom. Struggling with her constant stuttering, she recruits restaurant-loving regular Lefty Ledbetter (Hauser) to help Mandy sew shirts.
Meanwhile, Calvin meets some real Native Americans, and once he confronts them about stealing a Lakota shirt, Ghost Eye (Zahn McClarnon) and Hank Spears (Derek Hinkie) reclaim their tribal heritage. His mother’s insurance needed no convincing. With Mandy on the run, back at her father’s farm in Wyoming, and Roy Lee in close pursuit, all sides are poised to converge in a bloody battle royal for possession of the jersey.
Filming New Mexico to South Dakota, Toast subverts traditional expectations of Westerns by advancing Native American perspectives on some of the film’s thorniest social issues, including wide-open spaces, cultural conflicts, and spatial chaos. Plus, there’s the repetitive shooting action, unusual weapon choices (compound bows and hunting arrows) and the high body count ridiculous destruction for the genre.
With her hair styled in a long raven mullet, Mandy epitomizes Halsey’s type of emotionally scarred yet wildly popular woman in country music, as she tries to escape her life of abusive relationships. She gives her child and makes something good out of him. life. Penny Jo, played with a touch impairment and snatched by Sweeney, faces similar challenges as herself, as her speech impediment constantly interferes with her personal relationships, and is only subdued when she sings her favorite Dolly Parton songs. that happens. Hauser shows an equally mixed sensitivity to Lefty’s romantic ineptitude and his longing for connection, committing to doing everything to support Penny Jo’s aspirations for a music career in Nashville.
While Americana does not specifically reinvent the West. The Toast’s portrayal of characters driven by unbridled greed or justified need gives voice to often-neglected sectors of society in their quest for agency and respectability—any narrative kind. Great quality.
Location: SXSW Film Festival (In the Spotlight)
Production companies: Braun Studios, Sachs Picture Company
Cast: Sidney Sweeney, Paul Walter Houser, Halsey, Eric Dean, Zane McClarnon, Gavin Maddox Bergman, Simon Rex, Derek Hinke, Toby Haas, Harriet Sansom Harris
Writer/Director: Tony Tost
Producer: Alex Sachs
Executive Producers: Aaron L. Gilbert, Stephane Thiebaud, Allison Gene Rooney, Jason Kluth, Paris Cassidokostas-Latisse, Thierry Dugas, Jean-Luc de Fonte, Michael Williams, Suraj Marabuena
Photography: Nigel Black
Production designer: Russell Barnes
Costume designer: Gillian Bundrick
Editor: Peter McNulty
Composer: David Fleming
Cast: Angelica Midtender
Sales: WME Independent
1 hour 50 minutes