After dabbling in the world of shorts director, Matthew Gentile makes his feature debut with American Murderer from Saban Films. Gentile also pens the screenplay for the movie. American Murderer is a riveting thriller based on the true story of Jason Derek Brown (Tom Pelphrey). A charismatic con man Brown was an expert at bankrolling his extravagant lifestyle through a series of scams.
A dogged FBI special agent by the name of Lance Leising (Ryan Phillippe) is hot on Brown's trail and is determined to put Brown behind bars. When Brown's funds run low, and his past catches up with him, he plots his most elaborate scheme yet, pitting himself against Leising in a deadly game of cat and mouse and becoming the most unlikely and elusive fugitive on the FBI's most-wanted list.
I briefly remember hearing the name Jason Derek Brown channel flipping and stopping on a true crime show. However, I'm a sucker for biopics and true stories, so I decided to give American Murderer a look. When we first meet our lead character, he's in the midst of pulling his latest scheme. We then meet Lance Leising as he goes to see a former neighbor (Idina Menzel) of Brown's.
For his debut, it may seem that director Matthew Gentile wants to attempt to humanize Jason Derek Brown, which is galvanized by Tom Pelphrey's performance. I wasn't familiar with any of the actor's previous work, so having an unknown
Thankfully Peplphrey knows that Jason Derek Brown was a trash human being. Pelphrey deserves credit for bringing a loudmouth, obnoxious nature, and lack of morals or conscience to the character. Thus making him nothing but a nuisance you want to see get taken by Johnny Law.
The supporting cast in the film all provides the acting you'd expect from a movie of this sort, with no one standing out. At the same time, the film's pacing shifts back and forth in the timeline, which may turn off some viewers.
Nevertheless, I found myself invested enough in the story to it a mild recommendation.
Final Grade: C-
American Murderer is in theaters and On Demand Now.