AMERICAN MURDERER (2022) Reviews of true crime thriller

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American Murderer is a 2022 true crime film about con man Jason Derek Brown who killed an armed guard and became one of the FBI’s most wanted.

Written and directed by Matthew Gentile, making his feature directorial debut.

The movie stars Tom Pelphrey, Ryan Phillippe, Idina Menzel, Paul Schneider and Shantel VanSanten.


Plot synopsis:
Based on a true story, Jason Derek Brown (Tom Pelphrey), is a charismatic con man bankrolling his extravagant lifestyle through a series of scams. On Brown’s trail: Lance Leising (Ryan Phillippe), a dogged FBI special agent determined to put Brown behind bars.

When Brown’s funds run low and his past catches up with him, he plots his most elaborate scheme yet, pitting himself against Leising in a deadly game of cat and mouse — and becoming the most unlikely and elusive fugitive on the FBI’s most-wanted list…


“Tom Pelphrey has a little charisma, but not much to carry the film. There’s nothing exceptional about the camerawork, editing or anything else on an aesthetic level. Even the action scenes don’t generate much excitement. At a running time of 1 hour and 44 minutes, American Murderer is lethargic, vapid and underwhelming while low on thrills and suspense.” The NYC Movie Guru

“Unfortunately, Pelphrey is the only big highlight of American Murderer. The rest of the cast isn’t given much to work with and is just generally as supporting from the background. The time jumps didn’t work as they probably intended to. While the concept works in other films or TV shows, it just felt out of place and was distracting instead of illuminating.” 2.5 out of 5, Punch Drunk Critics

“While the film is compelling for the mere fact that it is based on a true story, it doesn’t provide enough detail to captivate audiences and get them to care about this particular criminal. Unfortunately, even the stellar cast couldn’t do enough to add life to this tedious script. American Murderer lacks any confidence to convince its audience that there’s enough here to keep their attention.” 1 out of 5, Screen Rant

“It is effective as a character study of Brown’s criminal activity and the life events that fueled his criminal instincts. Yet, when this movie attempts to be a crime thriller and the tried and true, ‘agent on the search for a criminal’ story elements kick in they feel a bit tacked on and formulaic. I almost forgot that Phillippe was in this movie at times.” 80% The Silver Screen Analysis

“Gentile is patient with several important moments, and gives Pelphrey room to push the limits. He’s on screen for most of the film and while it could have easily swung into caricature, Pelphrey walks the line almost to perfection […] Well-paced, well-written, and well-acted, American Murderer is a solid pick. Recommended.” 3.5 out of 5, That Moment In

“The ingredients were there for an acceptable time killer, but Gentile’s scripting and exclusion of the audience’s understanding of events make American Murderer into a dull true crime film that’s only casually watchable thanks to Pelphrey and Weaver.” 1.5 out of 5, Voices from the Balcony

“The movie has an interesting story and even a pace that keeps your attention, although it is slow at points. But the amount of things that Brown is able to get away with, unchecked for so long is nothing short of shocking. And his story is one of probably thousands like that out there.” 3 out of 5, Week 99er

“They show Jason Derek Brown to have a good chunk of charisma as he scams one victim after the other to get what he wants. It’s a great script that you keeps you hooked as things start to turn in favour of the FBI. There is a good side to him that we do get to see, making the ending harder to take onboard but his “final” heist gives little choice but bring him down asap.” 4 out of 5, Which Film

American Murderer premiered at the 2022 San Diego International Film Festival.
In the US, American Murderer was released theatrically in select locations on October 21, 2022, then on on-demand (VOD) starting on October 28, 2022.


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