The Fall of the American Empire Review – Riveting, A Race Against Time Thriller

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The Fall of the American Empire, from Sony Pictures Classics, brings to the screen a smart, riveting, pulsating film resonating with sarcasm and indictments on society, and presenting fate intersect the ultimate test of good and evil.

Directed and written by Denys Arcand, The Fall of the American Empire stars Alexander Landry, Maripier Morin, Remy Girard, Louis Morissette, Rose Marie Perreault, Maxim Roy, Pierre Curzi, Vincent LeClerc, Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, Florence Longpre, Eddy King, Genevieve Schmidt, Paul Doucet and Denis Bouchard.

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The film begins with Pierre, played by Alexandre Landry, having lunch with his soon to be ex-girlfriend, Natasha, played by Rose Marie Perreault, she a bank manager and he with a Ph.D in philosophy is stuck driving a package delivery service musing about the state of the world.

Over lunch and the discourse on the ills of society, many of which are true, they break up and she returns to her mundane life, a divorced mother of a young son, and he to his delivery routes and volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The next day, by fate, chance, happenstance, or kismet, he pulls into a strip mall, like every other day delivering packages, when from behind his van he hears gunshots and stumbling out the front door a would-be robber with a duffel bag of mob cash.

With one dead street thug in the parking lot and the other limping away, barely able to walk, the two leave behind the duffel's, a clean safe and no witnesses. Suddenly our philosopher, the man with a conscience, still laboring to pay off his student loans, underemployed, is faced with the ultimate test.

Hesitating for a moment, he grabs the cash and hides it in the back of his delivery van just before the police and the owner of the shop, Vladimir Francois, played by Eddy King, known as the banker for the local mob shows up. Now we have one dead thug, one dead mercenary security, an empty safe and for the banker of the mob, that can only bring trouble.

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So now our philosopher, with clean cut looks, and a sense of social justice, takes the money and puts it in a storage facility until he can come up with a plan.

Enter Sylvain Bigras, played by Remy Girard, the former account of the mob who has been in prison and his release is big news. He was known for his expertise in handling large financial transactions and making money trails disappear.

The philosopher is struggling with his moral dilemma, he decides to surf the web looking for a call girl who makes home visits, finally decides on Aspasie, played by Maripier Morin, as she enticed him with a quote from his favorite author on her website. After making the arrangements, online for privacy, she arrives for their session.

As the detectives continued to hunt for the money, and the shooters, they get closer and closer to Pierre, our philosopher, who made an arrangement with the mob account and the femme fatale, both of who are more skilled at a life of deception. An introduction to an international financier, Wilbrod Taschereau, played by Pierre Curzi, who has contacts in every financial off shore haven around the world and understands how to get around the strict Canadian laws becomes the final lynch pin to a perfect getaway.

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Even with a language barrier, The Fall of the American Empire captures the attention from the first scene. The indictment on society and the degradation of a sense of moral or ethical obligation to our fellow man, while ignoring those who are at their most vulnerable.

Filmed in Canada, the director doesn't shy away from painting a true picture of life everywhere, with three parallel worlds, that of the homeless and those who depend on charity, that of the philosopher who still owes his student loans and is unable to find work in his field, underemployment in every nation, and the extreme wealth that circles the world at any given moment.

The Fall of the American Empire has shocking violence with scenes of torture and murder. Even with the actual physical violence, the societal ills are equally shocking. The film is well made and very entertaining.

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The Fall of the American Empire moves from an indictment against the leaders of the world and society which has failed the majority of humanity, to a cat and mouse race against time staying one step ahead of capture, and returning to finding a way to give back, to help up. It is a great film. See it.

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