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Rated 3 stars
by 365 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
American Nightmare
by Betty Jo Tucker

Fired from his work,

Bill tells no one.

He lies to wife

and to his sons.


He begs his boss

to take him back --

to no avail.

Alas, alack!



he starts to rob.   

Stealing cash now

becomes his job.


But wracked with guilt,

Bill knows he’s wrong.

So will he change?

Will he be strong?


Wes Bentley plays

the key role here

and makes us feel

Bill’s cares and fear.  


After the Fall

helps viewers see

how job loss brings

such tragedy.

How refreshing to see a well-made film about something that matters! After the Fall deals personally with the economic crises faced by many families after the Wall Street meltdown which led to the recent U. S. Great Recession. Focusing on one particular family, this thought-provoking movie shows what lengths Bill Scanlon, an insurance salesman, goes to in order to keep his wife and two sons from finding out he’s lost his job – not for being a bad employee – but because of budget cutbacks. First-time feature director Saar Klein  (who co-wrote the timely screenplay with Joe Conway) wisely chooses to let the story play out slowly with just the right pace; cinematographer Matthias Koenigswieser uses colorful New Mexico skies and diverse landscapes to enhance the plot; and cast members Wes Bentley, Jason Isaacs, and Vinessa Shaw deliver excellent performances.

Before choosing a life of crime, Bill (Bentley) tries to solve his money problems by selling or hocking some of his precious possessions, borrowing money, refinancing his house, and offering to take any type of position, including “being a car valet.” We realize Bill is not a bad guy, but one who loses his moral compass while hoping to help his family. It’s easy to empathize with him. He’s a kind of modern Jean Valjean from Les Misérables. And like that famous character, Bill’s guilt intensifies when someone else gets charged with his crime. Should he come clean? If he does, what will happen to his family?

Ironically, Bill has recently met and befriended Frank McTiernin (Isaacs), a police officer   down in the dumps because his family has left him. How much influence will Frank have on Bill’s decision?

Both Bentley and Isaacs bring credibility to their roles. Plus, Vinessa Shaw excels as the worried wife and mother.  

After the Fall tells a poignant story of how the American Dream turned into a nightmare for one unfortunate family. I think it’s more effective than most news reports in helping us understand a tragedy that befell so many real families.        

(Released by E1 Entertainment and rated “R” by MPAA.)

For more information about After the Fall, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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