Rated 5 out of 5 by 1
Rated 5 out of 5 by CrazyQuilt Surprising Heart-warming Winner!
I was lucky enough to see this film at a private screening last week. This is an amazing film from first-time Writer-Director Mark Christensen. I was so nervous seeing this movie because a friend of mine has a leading role in it, and the worst thing in the whole world is having to tell your friend that his latest movie is awful! I was holding my breath every minute, just waiting for the film to crash and burn. (And maybe I should mention here that I am 1) a writer and 2) a New Yorker and 3) a novel editor and script doctor--so I need to be extremely objective and critical for professional reasons.)
But instead of crashing and burning, AMERICAN FLYER soars. It tells the story of "Bondo"--a young Mexican father and auto-mechanic who wants to make it to America to create a better life. However, his wife sees no heroism in "getting killed" by trying to cross the border to pursue a foolish dream--especially since Bondo's own father tried to do the same and failed. But it is his father's death that actually drives Bondo to pursue his dream. He makes his way to Tijuana, where he finds work and starts saving his money, only to discover that his boss is running drugs for the head of the local police. Bondo soon knows too much and finds himself trapped in a Catch-22 with no escape.
Christensen builds a genuine sense of suspense, walking a delicate line of danger, humor, humanity and ultimately triumph. He avoids the pitfalls that many "feel-good" movies fall into namely, "preaching" or selling a dream. Instead, he has created such original characters that you can't help but be concerned for their safety and cheer their survival. At every critical juncture, Christensen avoids sentimentality. And just when you think you know what will happen next...guess what? It doesn't. You really are a passenger on a perfect ride--even as Bondo soars over Tijuana in his homemade fly-able wheelbarrow. AMERICAN FLYER is beautifully shot and a visual delight--a triumph of the human spirit story that uses the genre but defies expectation. You come out thinking, "I CAN FLY TOO" no matter what mountain you are trying to get over. Making an independent movie is a pretty darn big mountain! Hats off to Christensen for creating a triumph.