Director Alessio Della Valle makes his feature debut following numerous shorts with American Night from Lionsgate. At its core, American Night is a neo-noir set in New York City's corrupt contemporary art world. The art dealer John Kaplan (Johnathan Rhys Meyers) and the ruthless head of New York's mafia, Michael Rubino (Emile Hirsch), fight for money, art, power, and love.
When a highly coveted Andy Warhol painting suddenly surfaces, it triggers a chain reaction of danger-filled events for a colorful group of characters, including a forger turned art dealer (Jonathan Rhys Meyers); a mobster and painter (Emile Hirsch) with a penchant for scorpions; a seductive museum conservator Sarah (Paz Vega); and a stuntman and wannabe ninja Vincent (Jeremy Piven). Filled with daring double-crosses and surprising twists and turns, the race for the painting comes to an explosive conclusion…on one American Night.
From the onset of American Night’s opening, it's clear that director Alessio Della Valle took some inspiration from the films of Quentin Tarantino. Fans of QT will smile at Valle’s use of captions, the division into chapters, and the plot of the story that is non-linear. Valle also takes inspiration from filmmakers Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Guy Ritchie. I even briefly smiled as he introduced us to our characters throughout profanity-filled tirades.
That said, I want to point out American Night has three separate storylines going on, so paying attention is critical, or you may get confused. While there is action in the film, there are so many clichés that make the final product seem over-bloated. Regarding the acting in the movie, it's nothing to write home about, with no one standing out, which is surprising given how impressive some of the actors were in their previous film.
American Night isn't a total misfire. Instead, it's just a misguided mix of the films you've seen before.
Final Grade: C-
American Night is In Theaters, on VOD, and Digital today October 1, 2021