I had a conversation at work last week about the “American Dream.” A co-worker referred to me as an “all-American,” and when I asked what he meant he said that it's someone who “does it all.” I asked if this pertained specifically to Americans, because people of other nationalities can do multiple things, and often this type of person is referred to as a “Renaissance Man (or Woman),” referring, of course, to a period of time more European than American. This somehow led to my co-worker mentioning the American Dream, and when I asked him how he defines that, he said it means being happy and successful. Fair enough, but I had to point out that that's kind of the Human Dream – I'm sure people in Bolivia strive to be happy and successful just as much as Americans. An interesting concept, the “American Dream.” Very abstract. I could go on and on. Just read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” You'll be ok.
I mention this because as I read about the two films we are going to discuss today, they both have to do with people who are described as living the American Dream, or trying to, when all hell breaks loose, for various reasons.
In The Iceman, the amazing Michael Shannon plays Richard Kuklinski, the notorious real-life mafia hitman. He was a family man, living a happy, quiet life – until he was arrested in 1986 and his family, who had no clue, discovered that he had murdered over 100 men. The film also stars Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, Chris Evans, Winona Ryder, and James Franco.
In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Riz Ahmed plays Changez, a Pakistani man working on Wall Street, building his career quite successfully, well on his way on the road to riches and success – and then the planes hit the twin towers. It was not an easy time for those of Middle Eastern heritage living in our country, and Changez' life is thrown into turmoil as he is profiled and put through hell.
Both these films are playing now at Village 8 as the newest installments of the Louisville Exclusives series. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Further theater information and showtimes can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database