What makes Mark Borschardt so relatable is that we all know someone like him. He is slightly mad and socially awkward yet assertive and intelligent, a fast talker with a quick wit and a big mouth. He is at some points self-confident and optimistic of the future, and other points hopelessly down in the dumps or drunk out of his already wacked out mind. He is also passionate about his life’s ambition, to fulfill his dream of making a feature horror film inspired by his own favorites Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
In the pursuit to complete the film Mark undergoes a series of hurdles and setbacks that succeed in making bad situations worse, prolonging an already drawn out production and frustrating his family and friends. In order to secure funding for the film, he must coerce his notoriously stringy elderly Uncle Bill to help finance the project, resulting in quite a few scenes of comedy gold. Interviews with Mark’s family are candid and revealing, shedding light on some factors that may have influenced Mark’s obsession with cinema.
The colorful cast of characters is filled out by his long since burnt out friends Mike and Kenny, who have been helping Mark make his films since they were all kids. Mike Schank in particular steals the movie with his slow moving, soft-spoken voice delivering some of the funniest lines in the movie.
American movie is a fantastic documentary that paints a thorough and engaging portrait of a man inspired by passion and driven by obsession. It offers a glimpse into the life and psyche of a flawed yet sympathetic character in both his darkest and brightest moments. If you’d like the learn something about the power of peserverence, I suggest you watch this film.