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It’s a good movie: tense, bold, angry, empathetic, provocative, observant, morally engaged. And also, to be honest, a trifle gimmicky.
American Skin is worth seeing, for the issues Parker seeks to address, even if it only partially works in leaving a mark.
No one in real life speaks the way they do in this film. No genuine drama is this crudely ordered drama, with its telegraphed turnabouts and conveniently-placed confessions, all building to a stage-managed plea for tolerance and unity.
The Hollywood Reporter
Well-intentioned but heavy-handed ... To be fair, while Parker's film lacks finesse and the writing too readily slides into bullet-point didacticism and self-righteous speechifying, it does go to some lengths to give both sides a voice, even if it inevitably stacks the deck.
The New York Times
Instead of lending immediacy, the padded-out documentary conceit only spotlights the stiltedness, and Parker falls short of building credible drama out of urgent issues.
An asinine and self-serving call to action that tries to hide its basic incompetence behind a veil of righteous fury.
A clunky, heavy-handed film that takes a pressing contemporary issue and flattens it under two genres the writer-director seems ill-equipped to handle — the mockumentary and the courtroom drama.
Los Angeles Times
Rather than speaking to the moment coherently, the movie communicates its message in loud fits of dull screaming.
Infuriatingly manipulative and insufferably preachy.
Los Angeles Times
From beginning to end, American Skin is a jagged symphony of false notes, each one struck with a sledgehammer. The most charitable thing that can be said about it is that if Parker is attempting to simulate the work of a bad or inexperienced filmmaker, he succeeds beyond his wildest dreams.
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