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The Dynamiter
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Dynamiter More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A heartfelt independent film about one brother's struggle to redefine himself and his family.

7/10
Author: Mic from Canada
28 September 2012

The Dynamiter is an up front character study about an impoverished high school freshman named Robbie Hendrick, played by William Ruffin, 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 gravity of their 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. Ruffin's sincere portrayal of 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 warm feeling 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.

Clearly the character of Bobbie was carefully written to exclude miscreant 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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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Compelling & Sad Indie

7/10
Author: Larry Silverstein from United States
8 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this compelling and sad indie William Patrick Ruff is superb as Robbie Hendrick, a 14 year old trying to survive his very harsh circumstances, in the small southern town of Glen Allan. He's living with his younger, mentally challenged, half-brother Fess, of whom he's very protective and his Grandma Gimmel, who appears to have some type of senility.

Robbie never knew his father, and his mother abandoned the family awhile back. She sends Robbie postcards at times, saying she is still traveling and trying to get her head "right' so she can return someday. Robbie dreams that when she returns they can be a family again.

Robbie is a social outcast among his peers in his middle school and in the town. He exhibits sociopathic tendencies when he impulsively steals from other students lockers or the birthday money from a girl who likes him, Kissy, after her party.

It seems like the people in the town know his circumstances and try not have him arrested, but he lies to everyone and tells everyone his mother has returned. The school Principal, Mr. Curtis, tries to work with Robbie by giving him an essay to write over the summer on his life, after which he could graduate with his class and move on to high school.

When Robbie's older brother Lucas (Patrick Rutherford) is evicted from his apartment he comes back to live with the family. This just adds more stress and complications to Robbie's life, as Lucas is a malingerer and deceitful, and will not even call Fess by his name, saying he's a half-breed. Lucas also continually throws "cold water" on Robbie's hope that their mother will return someday.

When Principal Curtis finally intervenes in their home, it sets off a series of events which culminates in giving Robbie a sliver of hope for his future.

All in all, I found this film to be filled with realism and rather riveting, if not difficult to watch at times. Yet, it was compelling enough to keep my interest throughout.

The movie is only 1 hour and 13 minutes long.

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an excellent little indie film

8/10
Author: ethanoel from Finland
14 April 2014

i think mic from canada took almost all the words out of my mouth and my review but i must still highly recommend this movie, it is an excellent piece of independent film making. the main character, a 14-year-old boy, is very convincing and william patrick ruffin has real acting potential. he gives us a sensitive performance of a troubled emotionally lost young man. basically robbie is a good decent boy who tries to cope with a hard life and who tries to act as an adult and a parent to his kid brother though he is still himself a child who would like to play and enjoy his summer holiday if things would be otherwise. but he simply cannot do same things other teenagers do because his mother has gone somewhere leaving him and his little brother with their grandmother who is of little help to robbie. so the boys must take care of themselves. a no-good older brother complicates their life and robbie must do a difficult decision.

like mic says this is not a perfect film but i can still recommend it with all my heart. the film is just a little over hour long but it rewards the viewer. i honestly think so and thats why i stand behind my recommendation...

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