Movie Review: “Dutch” is a gangland saga that’s no treat

A rambling, generic mobster’s-rise-in-flashback story, with a ludicrous terrorism trial as its framework, actors ranging from competent to amateurish and most of them unable to hide their disengagement from the script, “Dutch” has it all.

And then you look at this slo-motion trainwreck’s IMDb page and see it’s the first film of a planned trilogy.

Take me now, Lord. And Lord, this Nashville-based “Faith Media Holdings” company that released this violent, N-word, F-bomb and C-word R-rated “thriller?” Which faith is that?

Lance Gross plays a Newark mob boss who imposes his case on a reluctant defense attorney (Natasha Marc) just as he’s arrested over their unscheduled lunch meeting.

Bernard James, aka “Dutch,” is charged with terrorism — conspiring to bomb a Newark police station, a bombing that killed 27 cops.

In America, that would be the media story of the year, a trial turned into a media circus. Here, there’s no press, a mostly-empty courtroom and some of the dullest, most tin-eared dialogue and most amateur performances this side of sophomore year projects at your average film school.

I don’t like to abuse actors, and as most everybody in these scenes sounds like they’re reading lines off cue cards, let’s just put that grimace aside.

Flashbacks prompted by testimony tell us the story of how he got his start, his early connection to a mobster creatively named Fat Tony (veteran character player Robert Costanzo), how he came by his nickname and the bloody mob intrigues that accompanied his rise — with an earlier stint in prison thrown in.

As thrillers go, there’s nothing thrilling in “Dutch.” Characters slow-walk through the action, stop and deliver speeches often packed with exposition, legal or illegal credentials of their characters.

The finale is laugh-out-loud low-energy over-the-top. The actors so-underreact that you’d swear they were watching the film rather than participating in its violent, life-threatening story. Onetime web phenom “Hot Felon” Jeremy Meeks is in this cast, and as inexperienced as he is on screen, he’s not remotely the worst actor in this.

Is this story headed towards some sort of religious conversion? In the remainder of the trilogy?

I’d settle for an apology for wasting my time.

MPA Rating: R for language throughout, violence, some drug use, sexual references and nudity

Cast: Lance Gross, Natasha Marc, Jeremy Meeks and Robert Costanzo

Credits: Directed by Preston A. Whitmore II, David Wolfgang, script by Preston A. Whitmore II, based on a novel by Teri Woods. A Faith Media (!?) release.

Running time: 1:43

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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