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All fourteen-year-old Robbie Hendrick ever wanted was a family. Yet as another Mississippi summer begins, his wayward mother has run off again fearing a breakdown and he's left to burn the days caring for his half brother, Fess. As the deep days and nights pass without her return and with older brother Lucas dangerously in their lives again, Robbie must face the fact that his dream of a family may only be a dream and he might just lose the only family he's ever had: Fess. Written by
A heartfelt independent film about one brother's struggle to redefine himself and his family.
The Dynamiter is an up front character study about an impoverished high school freshman named Robbie Hendrick who struggles to provide for his younger brother in the absence of any real adult support. The movie docilely unfolds through the heat and humidity of a Mississippi summer and pits Robbie against a poverty driven habit of petty theft, the demands of his high school Principle, his alienated classmates, the return of his denial ridden and manipulative older brother and the void left by his recently absent single mom.
Gently paced and skillfully filmed, The Dynamiter feels at home in its small town setting. And although the plot fails at times to fully setup the main conflicts faced by this broken family, we are easily carried along by its captivating lead William Ruffin. Ruffin's sincere portrayal of Robbie, a teen forced into the responsibilities of adulthood, is skillfully played off of a solid ensemble of other new talent.
At the heart of the film's dynamics is the relationship between Robbie and his younger brother Fess. As the other bodies in Robbie's universe pull at his best course, Fess' innocent devotion anchor the lead's choices in a desire to do whatever it takes to preserve this relationship. This dynamic gives the film its warmth and connects you deeply to the characters. And as Robbie struggles to make good choices in unreasonable situations it is the realization that his family is not defined by the proximity of it's members but by their intentions that drive the story to it's unexpectedly imperfect and yet hopeful conclusion.
The character of Bobbie was carefully written to exclude delinquent stereotypes and in doing so we are allowed an almost documentary like look in to the the lives of the cast. Ruffin's nuanced delivery of this honestly written character, combined with his rugged good looks, should convince anyone that they are witnessing the potential birth of a rising star.
The Dynamiter is not a perfect film, but it is an exceptional example of how a very good film can be made on a very limited independent budget. By combine great acting with an frank and executable story line The Dynamiter delivers a very solid punch. Take the time to see this film, I think you'll be impressed.
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