American Roulette (Coming of Age Drama)
GENRE: Coming of Age Drama, PG13
TONE: Love, Simon and American History X
THEME: In the transformation from childhood to adulthood, friends can be a lifeline. The landscape of gun violence in our country has grown to immense proportions, taking innocent lives every day. This story illuminates the underlying tragedies that happen in our culture when guns are readily available.
LOG LINE: A charismatic and intelligent high school dropout (18) searches for the mother he never knew after his father goes on the lam and finally reveals her name to him. Together with his girlfriend and his three best friends, they spend an unforgettable senior year in high school, which culminates in a pseudo game of Russian Roulette on graduation night, irreparably and forever changing all of their lives
SYNOPSIS: A charismatic and intelligent high school dropout (18) searches for the mother he never knew after his father goes on the lam and reveals her name to him. Together with his girlfriend and three best friends, they spend an unforgettable senior year in high school, which culminates in a pseudo game of Russian Roulette on graduation night, forever changing all of their lives.
Set in a small town, American Roulette chronicles the lives of five teenagers during their senior year in high school as they traverse between childhood and adulthood, innocence and experience.
REX (18) is a born leader, brilliant, and resourceful. He has had to drop out of high school to support himself because his father has left (the witness protection program is alluded to). He never knew his mother who thought she gave him up for adoption, but his dad never signed the papers and raised him on his own instead. Rex is in love with ALLIE (17) a sexy, feisty girl whose mother dates the Chief of Police, an abusive drunk who has some dark history that involves Rex’s father. Allie’s best friend is DAISY (17), a well-meaning and privileged girl whose father, DR. SINGER serves as a mentor and role model to all of them. Rex’s best friend is HUGO (19), an immigrant and not-so-smart wise guy. GRETA (18) is a big track star, an African American beauty, and one of Daisy’s best friends. The story opens on graduation night with the pseudo- Russian Roulette game and the underlying tensions between them. They struggle for the gun, which goes off inadvertently. Before the outcome is revealed, the script flashes back to the beginning of their senior year.
A male buck sees his own reflection in Daisy’s mirrored patio windows and charges through them, ready to battle with himself, but creates a bloody mess instead. This vision catapults a series of events: Daisy gets arrested for growing marijuana in the prairie behind her house. Rex and Hugo are haunted by some skin heads who want to buy their crop. Allie comes home one night from a romp with Rex and finds her mother beat up, naked, and handcuffed to the sink by the Police Chief. Hugo solicits Rex’s tutoring help so he can graduate. Daisy gets Rex to help her to improve her college entrance scores. Greta wins all the state track competitions and gets a full scholarship with Olympic training. Rex and Allie have sex in some of the most inventive places and grow their love and intimacy throughout the year.
As their senior year winds down, Rex tracks down his birth mother in a small town not too far away. He goes there a couple of times to witnesses her from afar with her five-year-old daughter. His longing is heartbreaking. One time, Daisy accompanies him and meets his mother, who declines to see him. They both long to see each other, but don’t connect for various reasons. Instead, Rex connects on a deep and heartfelt level with his friends who are his only family.
The five of them have a love for each other that endures other hardships such as Greta losing her scholarship, Allie’s jealously and infidelity, and Daisy’s disappointment over her parents’ impending divorce. Allie gets pregnant. Rex wants to marry her and keep the baby. It’s his best chance for a family and holds all his hopes for the future.
In the final moments, the Russian Roulette game plays out in its entirety. The bullet lands and kills one of them. It's Rex. He dies tragically. They all die a certain death of their innocence in that moment, forever changed, forever connected. In the final moments, Rex is reunited in spirit with his mother, running into her arms the way he witnessed her five-year-old daughter do during one of his trips, as if he was going to get to live the childhood he never had and always longed for in his heart and soul.