Director: Andrew Treglia
Running Time: 81 minutes
Expected Rating: R for violence and language
Website: Click Here
Trailer: Click Here
Online Purchase: Click Here
Reviewer: Jeremy T. Hanke
Famous Films It Resembles: Layer Cake, Reservoir Dogs, El Mariachi
Similar Directors: Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez
Final Score: 8.0 (out of 10)
Jimmy (Andrew Treglia) is a man who tries to do good for his community by helping out as a substance abuse counselor. However, when a tragic accident kills his wife, Melanie (Shanal Curtis), and newborn son, Jimmy Jr, he finds himself without a rudder, adrift in a river of despair. In his grief, he returns to his old addictions and adds some new addictions along the way which threaten to destroy his very soul.
The narration-driven tale of The Atlantan is compellingly complex, with a protagonist in Jimmy that’s so full of self-loathing that it’s hard to tell if he’s someone you can actually root for. In this regard, it actually bears a striking resemblance to noir revenge tales like those most famously found in the video game series, Max Payne, by Rockstar Games. At times, it teeters on the edge of becoming a film version of Breaking Bad, so you’re never quite sure how it will end.
The acting is solid—which is very rare when the director is playing the lead in a film—and the ensemble performances are effective. (Treglia actually reminds me a lot of a gritty combination of John Travolta and Ray Liotta in this film.) The narration at time gets a little redundant, but manages to work because of the cyclical nature of the story and the character who’s narrating. Likewise, while the ending is a little rough, it works well enough to make the story fit together.
It can be rough to tell a story that teeters on the edge of tragedy and redemption—even harder to make it not get preachy and painful. To that end, Treglia did a good job.
I found that the question of what Jimmy would do next at each moment led me to continue watching, without feeling as though I knew exactly what route he would take. I also found the dark and shadowy imagery of the film to be just far enough into noir to give you the feeling that anyone could slink into (or out of) the shadows, without making the film muddy or hard to visually distinguish.
How Far Did you Watch Through It:
The story of a man who’s lost everything and questions whether he can come up from the hell he’s descended into is innately interesting. Fortunately, the entire package of this film delivered on that question.
While The Atlantan may be a little rough at times, it’s really a good film that asks some difficult questions about life, heroism, and choices, as well as some thoughts about belief and God. If you like movies like El Mariachi or Reservoir Dogs, then you will likely find The Atlantan to be well-worth your time!