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PBIFF’13 MOVIE REVIEW: “No God, No Master”

April 12, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-12 at 9.29.21 PMI’m a fan of historical films, especially when they’re done right. “No God, No Master” was well meaning attempt at telling the gripping story about the scattered package bombings in New York circa 1919. Instead, we get a bland, flat, and stiff production. Featuring ‘TV movie of the week’ performances (except for David Strathairn’s lead), phony production design, and stale camera work. “No God, No Master”, has no chance at a decent release.

When a series of package bombs show up on the doorsteps of prominent politicians and businessmen in the summer of 1919, U.S. Bureau of Investigation Agent William Flynn (Strathairn) is assigned the task of finding those responsible and quickly becomes immersed in an investigation that uncovers an anarchist plot to destroy democracy, setting the stage for a timely drama with resoundingly similar parallels to the contemporary war on terrorism and the role that government plays to defeat it.

The biggest problem with “No God, No Master” was the lack of tension. This is a movie about bomb threat during the early days of the 20th century, it’s pretty much the earliest forms of terrorist attacks in America, so where’s the tension? The movie lacked in that department in a major way, if I’m seeing a movie about bomb attacks, there better be some tension. Not only that, but the movies overall plot was tiresome from the get go, it had a few interesting moments, but it constant subplots focusing on different characters really didn’t help the movie as a whole.

The acting is nothing to brag about, with the exception of Mr. David Strathairn, it’s no “Good Night, Good Luck”, but it certainly isn’t a complete dud. Strathairn does his best to hold the movie a float, but with a supporting cast of duds and a few annoying performances, like Paul Iacono’s portrayal as Tony, the son of Agent Flynn’s girlfriend, that kids performance was literally the embodiment of an annoying little prick! Couldn’t stand him at all, every time he appeared on screen, I had this sharp headache-like pain.

There’s nothing really to brag about the movie, with the exception of David Strathairn’s solid performance, the movie is simply a dud, and I don’t expect it to go any farther after it’s festival run. Perhaps Lifetime will pick it up, because that’s what the movie felt like, a Lifetime movie of the week.

GRADE: C

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