The Dynamiter

Crystalline microcosms of rural Mississippi introduce Glen Allan; the isolated, fringe-of-America town which is the setting for the small-budgeted, big-hearted story of The Dynamiter (2011), the debut feature film from documentarian Matthew Gordon. The brothers Hendrik, Robbie (William Ruffin) and Fess (John Alex Nunnery), while away listless Summer afternoons in the countryside, stabbing hay bales, throwing 
homemade spears and revelling in their shared adolescence. Fourteen-year old Robbie gently but insistently 
educates his younger brother about everything he considers important; self-defence, an almost ascetic work 
ethic, and most significantly, the importance of family. This filial loyalty is instilled despite their own family life 
being dysfunctional; Robbie heads the home, taking care of his mentally myopic grandmother, there is no sign 
of either of the children's fathers and their shared mother is reportedly in California, trying to nurse her own 
mental breakdown. 

A vestige of family normalcy, however, seems to arrive with the return of the boys' older brother Lucas (Patrick
Rutherford), a former star sportsman for the local high-school and current freeloader and seducer of meal-ticket
women. Although the end of his absenteeism sparks a hope in Robbie of having a real family (he idealises the 
unit that Lucas's return might finally establish), it soon becomes clear that the situation can no longer hold water,
and Robbie has to decide how to rescue himself from the situation.

The smallness of The Dynamiter is made stunning by its masterful production; a soundtrack primarily consisting
of Animal Collective and Mumford and Sons is lacquered dreamily to visuals resonating with agrarian intimacies
that avoid tracking back into the stock-footage of rurality. More impressive, though, is that the cast consists of 
non-actors; residents of the community whose plausibility and earnestness negates the need for conventional
acting. Rutherford, Nunnery, and especially Ruffin, deliver a forceful reminder that formal theatrical training can
be dispensed with when the actor genuinely connects with the soul of the story.     

No comments:

Post a Comment