Films: The Dynamiter

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The Dynamiter

The Dynamiter

USA, 2011, 73 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: American Indie, Coming of Age, Drama, Family Issues
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, New Directors Showcase
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Matthew Gordon
Producer: Matthew Gordon, Kevin Abrams, Mike Jones, Nate Tuck, Amile Wilson, Art Jones, Merilee Holt
Editor: Kevin Abrams
Screenwriter: Brad Ingelsby
Cinematographer: Jeffrey Waldron
Principal Cast: William Patrick Ruffin, John Alex Nunnery, Patrick Rutherford, Ciara McMillian, Lane Rodgers

In his rural Mississippi hometown, 14-year-old Robbie Hendrick is struggling. Though he’s got issues at school—he’s a poor student, steals, and gets in fights—the bigger problems are at home. Robbie is responsible for caring for his elderly grandmother and young half-brother, Fess, while his absentee mother sends the occasional postcard, always saying she’s hoping to come home soon. As Robbie tries to keep the household in order, waiting for the day the family will reunite, his freeloading older brother, Lucas, returns home.

Lucas, a former local football star turned college dropout, steals, carouses, and romances one lonely local girl after another while making Robbie take a back-breaking job at a local service station. Growing ever more disappointed in his former idol, Robbie finds himself defending Fess against Lucas. The boys’ lives become even more complicated as the little stability that they have is threatened by social-service workers. The only glimmer of hope appears when Robbie befriends an African-American girl his age—and despite their awkward exchanges and her own family troubles, she becomes a lifeline.

Director Matt Gordon filmed this intensely moving drama on location in Glen Allan, Mississippi, with a cast of local residents. The result is a snapshot of a forgotten rural America, in which young Robbie embodies a spirit of hope and devotion as yet undiminished by the hard reality of adulthood.
—REBECCA CARO

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