Road Rash Reviews

American Star Cinema and Digital Review****-

Cert 15 | 107 mins | 2024

4 star slow burning and intelligent thriller.

American Star is a 2024 thriller written by Nacho Faerna (The Ugliest Woman in the World) and directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego (The Hollow Point, Open Grave).

It is coming to UK Cinemas and Digital Platforms from 23rd February 2024 courtesy of Vertigo Releasing.

“They say there are three kinds of people in Fuerteventura. Those who live here, tourists and those who are running from something.”

Wilson (Ian McShaneJohn Wick: Chapter 4, Hellboy) is an aging hitman who has been sent to the island of Fuerteventura for what could be his final job. Following the directions to the home of the target (Thomas KretschmannDeliver Us, Last Sentinel), he is surprised to find it empty. As he looks around, a young woman arrives and he is forced to leave.

Perhaps drawn by the sweeping vistas and beautiful but desolate landscape, he makes the decision to check into a local hotel while he waits for the target to arrive. He samples the nightlife, which is excruciatingly touristy and heads into town to find something more to his taste.

He is directed to a local blues bar, where he is surprised to see the woman from the house behind the bar. Her name is Gloria (Nora Arnezeder – Le Musk, The Colony) and when he expresses interest in local shipwreck The American Star, she gives him directions and the two strike up an unlikely friendship. She even invites him to meet her mother (Fanny Ardant – Elizabeth, The Woman Next Door).

He also reluctantly makes friends with a young boy Max (Oscar Coleman – All the Old Knives) who is staying at the hotel in a nearby room. But, despite the relaxing nature of this impromptu vacation, his real life is never far behind as fellow hitman Ryan (Adam Nagaitis – The Last Duel, Gunpowder Milkshake) has been sent to keep an eye on him.

“Alright, so basically, a tugboat was towing it from Greece to Thailand to turn it into a floating hotel. They were caught in a storm, the towline snapped, it ran aground and broke in two.”

American Star is a very interesting and effective film. If you are looking for action, then you are probably in the wrong place for it, it is there but not until right at the end and it isn’t at all the point of the film. Although slow, it is well paced and able to hold the interest all the way through

While it all looks very simple at face value, there are many undercurrents of emotion swirling around, much like the wreck of the American Star. All of this is made possible by a powerhouse performance from Ian McShane, who portrays an incredibly complex array of thoughts and feelings, sometimes without even saying a word. This feels like a man rediscovering lost parts of his own psyche.

It is beautifully filmed, with a great soundtrack, all of which serves to leave us as transfixed by the island as our protagonist and almost disappointed when it all reaches it’s inevitable finale. A great film and well worth a watch.

“Maybe tonight it will sink completely. That would make us the last two people ever to see the American Star.”

American Star is coming to UK Cinemas & Digital Platforms on 23rd February 

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DirectorGonzalo López-Gallego
StarringIan McShane, Nora Arnezeder, Adam Nagaitis, Oscar Coleman
Category: Review