Motherland Review and Trailer

The idea of the American Dream is that regardless of your background, you are given the opportunity to prosper and achieve. An innovative philosophy indeed, but more often than not we see cinema expose this concept as ultimately unattainable.  Such is the case in Motherland.

Directed by Doris Yeung, Motherland is a film-noir drama surrounding Raffi Tang (Francoise Yip) who is obligated to return home to California after she learns of her mother’s murder during a home burglary. Upon her arrival in San Francisco, she endures an uncomfortable reunion with her step-father, Stanley (Kenneth Tsang) and his closest business operative (Byron Mann). She learns of the exhausting ongoing lawsuit in which Raffi’s mother was accusing Stanley of illegally attaining assets. Raffi’s stoic and indifferent behavior towards the lawsuit quickly changes when she suspects Stanley having a hand in her mother’s death. She decides to seek out some sort of vengeance against her thieving step-father by continuing the lawsuit.

Motherland imitates the director Doris Yeung’s own traumatic event in which her mother was murdered as well. Her attempt to uncover the dark side of the American Dream and its intricacies are well done. Raffi’s mother and father both led successful and wealthy lives, however their bickering over material possessions showed the detrimental effect of the American Dream and how it can deteriorate a families bond.

While the interaction between Francoise Yip and Kenneth Tsang seems authentic at times, the acting in this film was ultimately its downfall. The awkward on-screen chemistry between cast members was palpable and irritating to watch. As well as a disturbing list of clichéd phrases ruining many climactic moments. While the cinematography deserved a better cast to fill the frames, it did lend some visual aid for the viewers pleasure.

Motherland opens August 26th at The 4 Star Thetare

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