Amira & Sam
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Martin Starr, Dina Shihabi, Paul Wesley, David Rasche, Laith Nakli, Ross Marquand, Claire Byrne, Teddy CaŮez, James Chen. Written & Directed by Sean Mullin. Note: This film is Not Rated by the MPAA. Due to content, we have listed it as equivalent to an R rated film.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An army veteran's unlikely romance with an Iraqi immigrant (an undocumented immigrant is PC for illegal alien) is put to the test when she is faced with the prospect of deportation. Heís fresh out of the service, unable to find his way. She is selling pirated DVDs on a Manhattan street corner. Their connection - her uncle served with him in Afghanistan where Sam saved his life. At first, she is hostile to him because she blames American soldiers for the death of her brother. But when Amira gets arrested and flees the officer in order to escape the threat of deportation, Sam is contacted by the uncle to help her, hide her. Thus, a relationship begins. Can love be far off?

PREVIEW REVIEW: This age we live in can be easily viewed as one of moral redefining. There is still a basic code that a man will live by, but it is often done against majority acceptance. If we donít agree with a law, such as smoking dope or selling pirated videos, then that law no longer restricts us. We donít even bother to change it. We just ignore it. And in the case of someone residing in America illegally, then we must ignore that law, as well, aided by the breaking of many other laws in order to protect the criminal. Iím being political, I just grew up believing if you broke a law, you were a criminal. Who profits by the redefining of that principle?

To appreciate this on-the-run coupleís predicament, we must accept that America is flawed and corrupt in its law-making and its very structure. And to stack the deck in flavor of the renegades, the only white man portrayed in this film who doesnít seem corrupted, is Sam. It helps the filmmakerís cause to center the action around Wall Street, where Samís hedge fund selling cousin is the poster boy for capitalistic greed. (Our story is set in 2008 just before the financial crisis.) Will Sam be corrupted by the promise of wealth? Oh, please. His purpose in the filmmakerís agenda is to set ďthe manĒ straight, politically, socially, financially and morally. Itís a bit heavy-handed, but so what, so long as ďthe ManĒ is exposed.

The women mistreat the hijab-wearing Amira throughout. A male character thinks Amira looks like Jasmine in the Disney cartoon Aladdin. Another male rants against Arab aggression, his argument overshadowed by his prejudice. Each character (each white) is bigoted or insensitive, revealing just how ignorant a bunch all us Americans are. Or, so the filmmaker must believe.

Actually, I donít want to be too hard on the filmmaker as it is the responsibility of an artist to point out a societyís flaws. Injustice, corporate greed, bigotry, these are dark blots on the fabric of an otherwise great nation. Whatís more, even after being washed out, these nasty spots can come back if not diligently addressed. But to make his point, writer/director Sean Mullin caricatures white Americans, failing to spotlight those who live by a righteous code, the Ten Commandments. Heís careful not to expose the wrongdoing of anyone else, just white and corporate America.

The film contains sixty uses of the f-word, casual sex, and no sense of reverence to God. (His name is misused just enough to reveal the attitudes of those doing the social finger pointing). Howís this new? Canít this same content be found in nearly every film now playing in theaters? Thereís nothing new here, including a liberal, if one-sided perspective on immigration. As I said, it is an era of the redefining of right and wrong, and itís as if the filmmaker is a part of the new leaders who somehow think America will be a better place if completely retooled.

Admittedly, Iím basing the following views on a faith-based concept, but I donít see how any land can be at its best without reverence for our Creator. New laws are placed on the books each day in order to grant more rights to more people, but no amount of laws can change the heart. There needs to be a spiritual awareness when restructuring a country, be it morally or socio-politically. This director Mullins fails to include.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Drafthouse Films

Summary
Crude Language: Some crude sexual comments
Obscene Language: At least 60 uses of the f-word, with other obscenities also being well represented.
Profanity: Both Godís and Christís names are profaned.
Violence: One brief scuffle.
Sexual Intercourse: One brief sexual situation, but no nudity; sexual conversations become somewhat graphic in one scene.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Excessive drinking
Other: None
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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