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American Fetish - Unearthed Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
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Written by Ray Casta   
Friday, 06 May 2011

Poster of American Fetish on Severed Cinema
Buy American Fetish from Amazon.com on Severed CinemaBuy American Fetish from Amazon.ca on Severed Cinema

Directed by: Michael Simmons
Written by: Michael Simmons
Produced by: Michael Simmons
Cinematography by: Jenny Ramirez
Music by: Danny Osuna
Cast: Matt Jones, Charlie Laine, Matt Bianco, Marek Matousek, Jacqui Holland, Zarchary Marsala, Christy Patrick, Sally Sandoval
Year: 2010
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 30 min

Distributor: Unearthed Films
Official Website: American Fetish

What is your fetish?  By its definition, fetishism is sexual arousal a man or woman attains from an object, or a specific scenario.  Regarded as a normal variation of human sexuality, fetishism can be characterized as a disorder by medical practitioners and psychologists if a person suffers from it.  Studies in 2009 revealed there were readily 547 different paraphilias.  It is virtually impossible to list every fetish around, as fetishes are countless.  In his directorial debut, Michael Simmons brings "American Fetish" to the screen.  A fairly ambitious project that inadequately fails to delve deep into the world of fetishism, "American Fetish" at least provides a savvy ambience, compounding elements of 1950's film noir with a seedy underworld.

Dipped in film noir atmosphere, "American Fetish" takes place in present day.  It tells the story of Chet, who inherits his father's club, and it turns out his father was once convicted of murder.  Apparently, the murder occurred during the filming of a "blue movie" that Chet's father filmed.  The "blue movies" are an assortment of stag films showcasing different fetishes.  Chet inherits this collection and he is compelled to sell the movies to interested parties to raise money to make payments on his father's club.  Meanwhile, he sets out on a personal quest to prove his father was innocent of murder nearly fifty years ago.  Obsession sets in, and Chet is soon torn between fantasy and reality.

Scripted by Michael Simmons, "American Fetish" is all over the place.  Its convoluted plot leaves threads hanging, and the more you attempt to explain it the more nonsensical it becomes.  For a movie that relies on voice over and has a compelling idea, it meanders far too much to ever grab one's attention.  A huge bulk of the movie includes Chet watching his father's "blue movies," while the audience is given sleek, voyeuristic snapshots of some strange visuals.  There were many times throughout the movie where the pace stops dead in its tracks, and simply plods to the next scene with nothing substantial happening.  The vibe is especially "off" in terms of pacing.

Blotchy and clumsy in its narrative, the film's selling point is the cinematography by Jenny Ramirez.  Shot in gorgeous 35mm, "American Fetish" brings forth an array of striking visuals.  To call the film stylish would be on point.  If it's one thing Michael Simmons nails, it's his sense of visual artistry.  Glorious lighting, wonderful camera staging and an arresting clash of colors immerse the screen.  The camera floats around, like it's a ghost capturing the essence of the 1940's and 1950's.  Danny Osuna's score only adds to the haunting aura set forth by the visuals.  Despite its major flaws, the movie has a fresh style that stands out.

As far as its fetish angle, "American Fetish" is fairly tame by today's standards.  Different fetishes like spanking, foot/shoe worship, latex, nylons and S&M are included, and then some.  It's a pretty bizarre film, but do not expect it to shock.  There is a clever idea, in terms of the 1950's era theme and the present day correlation.  Unfortunately, the film eschews characterization entirely and focuses solely on its style that it resembles more of a softcore fetish vehicle than anything else.  From the outset, the classic noir atmosphere pulled me in and the striking cinematography gave me a reason to be optimistic.  Unearthed Films released a DVD for "American Fetish" on November 23, 2010 and I imagine the movie will eventually find an audience.  Aesthetically impressive, "American Fetish" is a string of interesting ideas that never fully materialize.

Screenshot image from American Fetish on Severed Cinema

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Screenshot image from American Fetish on Severed Cinema

Screenshot image from American Fetish on Severed Cinema

Screenshot image from American Fetish on Severed Cinema

Screenshot image from American Fetish on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
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